Clashes between Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood members and oppositional protesters were heated on Saturday night in a southeastern Cairo suburb, with reports of “sticks and iron chains” being used during the attacks.
Witnesses, according to local news site Egypt Independent, reported that the clashes Brotherhood members were provoked by protesters spraying graffiti against the group near its headquarters in the Moqattam suburb.
The Brotherhood members then attacked the protesters using sticks and iron chains, witnesses said.
Security forces attempted to disperse protesters and more of them showed up to protect the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters.
The Brotherhood Spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan said the opposition protesters insulted his organization “using the most horrid insults, while they infuriated our youth inside the office.” Ghozlan condemned the violence on both ends, Egypt Independent reported.
Other clashes on Saturday night were also reported in the Sohag province, one of Egypt’s poorest southern cities, where President Mohammed Mursi was visiting to unveil a housing project and new education complex
Thousands of anti-government protesters tried to storm the hall where he was meeting with local officials.
Police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters and opponents of Mursi during the clashes.
The state-run Ahram news website said student protests and a boycott by professors forced Mursi to cancel his visit to the university in Sohag, where he was to also inaugurate a medical facility.
Anger against Mursi has been the most vivid in the Suez Canal city of Port Said. Police were forced to hand over security of the Mediterranean city to the military after protesters torched the security headquarters last week. The death toll from the past several weeks of violence there reached 48 on Saturday after a protester died of internal bleeding from a tear gas canister that fractured his skull, according to a medical official.
The unrest has hurt Egypt’s economy and the government’s ability to implement painful austerity measures needed to secure international loans and reign in spending, particularly on massive subsidies for wheat and diesel.