Egypt’s riot police fired tear gas Saturday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to disperse demonstrators protesting against the empowerment of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Some 30 tents were set up as opponents have decided to observe a sit-in Friday to protest against the new powers of Morsi.
A small number of demonstrators were dispersed by tear gas and fled into nearby streets.
The day before, in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolt of 2011, thousands of people from secular and liberal movements gathered to shouting among other “Morsi dictator.”
Another demonstration was held outside the presidential palace supporting the president who said he was determined to assume his strengthened powers. The current popular protest is led by the nationalist Hamdeen Sabbahi, who reached third in the June presidential election. He said that “all revolutionary forces” have decided to start a sit-in in Tahrir Square and called for a mass demonstration Tuesday to force Morsi reverse his decisions.
The demonstrations Friday involved clashes between youth and police, while protesters set fire to the premises of the Party for Freedom and Justice (PFJ), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria (north), Port Said and Ismailia (northeast).
Sporadic clashes have also occurred since Monday near Tahrir Square between police and youth groups around official buildings, on the occasion of the first anniversary of deadly clashes between security forces and demonstrators protesting at the time against the military rule.