Egyptian police arrests 12 ‘black bloc’ members after presidential palace clashes

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Egyptian police arrested 12 members of the “Black Bloc” -- a violent group opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood -- after clashes outside Cairo's presidential palace, the official MENA news agency said Saturday.

Protesters hurled rocks and fire bombs at the walls of the presidential palace in Heliopolis, and torched a police vehicle, a security source told MENA.

“Security forces arrested 12 youths who were among rioters involved in the events around the presidential palace on Friday,” the source said, adding the judiciary would take action against those involved.

Police fired tear gas to disperse the masked activists of the Black Bloc movement, a security source told AFP.

Footage broadcast on private television station ONTV showed a police vehicle ablaze on the edges of the presidential palace compound.

State television reported early Saturday that “clashes between the police and the Black Bloc at the presidential palace wounded 20 people.”

A security official told AFP that three security personnel, including two officers, were among those hurt.

An Egyptian daily reported on Saturday that a large number of Black Bloc members flowed to Mohamed Mahmoud Street demanding the release of detained group members.

The bloc said in a statement on its official Facebook page that they can no longer stand still towards the government’s “campaigns against the revolution’s youth.”

Earlier in April, Egyptian public prosecutor Talaat Ibrahim ordered the detention of 22 suspected Black Bloc members accused of funding the mysterious group.

The group of masked young protesters has been linked to violent attacks on public and private properties. The Bloc members present themselves as the defenders of protesters opposed to President Mohamed Mursi’s rule.