Mursi loyalists defy Egyptian police with fresh rallies

Published: Updated:

Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi defiantly staged rallies Friday and clashed with police in Cairo, after the government ordered their sit-ins to be cleared, Agence France-Presse reported.

Police fired tear gas to disperse about 1,000 protesters who tried to set up a new protest camp outside a large compound housing television stations.

“Police have fired tear gas to disperse Mursi’s supporters after they tried to storm the Media Production City,” where satellite television channels are based, a security official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, told AFP.

The Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, also said that “the Egyptian police forces have fired gas bombs on the anti-coup peaceful protesters as soon as they arrived at the Media Production City.”

Mursi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood group, had his supporters rallying outside the Media City in the 6th October suburb to express their anger at the channels’ backing of the July 3 military coup that toppled the Islamist leader.

The two main pro-Mursi sit-ins in Cairo that police want lifted is far away from the Media City rally.

While the Egyptian police closed all roads leading to pro-Mursi sit-ins in Cairo, a statement by the interior ministry late Friday said that the police have thwarted all attempts by Mursi supporters to enter the Media Production City.

Islamist supporters of Mursi continued to be resilient on Friday when they said that they would march on two key military headquarters in Cairo, and defiantly announced a new sit-in site.

“The Anti-Coup, Pro-democracy Alliance announces staging an additional sit-in,” AFP quoted the pro-Mursi group as saying.

Marches by Mursi loyalists would target four security forces sites, including the headquarters of the army’s Republican Guards and the Joint Leadership of the Egyptian Armed Forces, the group added.

Late Friday, U.S. Under Secretary William Burns arrived in Cairo. Burns is the latest international envoy on a mission to press Mursi’s backers and the interim government to resolve the country’s crisis peacefully.

(With AFP and The Associated Press)