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Egyptian protesters remove barbed wire during a demonstration in a show of opposition to Mursi in front of the Presidential palace in Cairo yesterday.
CAIRO/PORT SAID: Opponents of Egypt’s President Mohammed Mursi hurled petrol bombs at his palace yesterday as protesters returned to the streets of Egypt demanding his overthrow after the deadliest violence of his seven months in power.
Youths threw about two dozen petrol bombs and launched fireworks at the outer wall of the presidential compound in Cairo as night fell and thousands of peaceful demonstrators had dispersed.
Police fired water cannon and tear gas at the crowd. The roof of a building in the compound appeared to catch fire.
The head of the Republican Guard, which protects the palace, condemned the attack and what he described as attempts to climb the compound walls and storm one of its gates. In a statement to the state news agency, he urged the protesters to keep their demonstration peaceful.
Earlier there were scuffles in the central Tahrir Square, focal point of the revolution that overthrew authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak two years ago. Police fired tear gas at stone throwing youths. However there were no reports of serious bloodshed by nightfall.
Protests marking the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Mubarak have killed nearly 60 people since January 25, prompting the head of the army to warn this week that the state was on the verge of collapse.
Men dressed in mourning black marched through the Suez Canal city of Port Said, scene of the worst bloodshed of the past nine days, chanting and shaking their fists in one of the protests that brought thousands to the streets across the country. “There is no God but God and Mohammed Mursi is the enemy of God,” they chanted. Brandishing portraits of those killed in recent days, they shouted: “We will die like they did, to get justice!”
For the Port Said marchers, yesterday was also the first anniversary of a soccer stadium riot that killed 70 people last year. Death sentences handed down last Saturday against 21 Port Said men over the riots helped fuel the past week’s violence there, which saw dozens shot dead in clashes with police.
Mursi imposed a curfew and emergency rule in Port Said and two other canal cities on Sunday, a move that only seems to have added to the sense of local grievance.
Mohamed Ahmed, 26, protesting at the presidential palace, said: “I am here because I want my rights, the ones the revolution called for and which were never achieved.”
Protesters also marched in other cities. In Alexandria they blocked major roads and staged a sit-in on the railway.