Five people were killed and 450 wounded when supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi clashed around the presidential palace in Heliopolis on Wednesday. This happened after a sit-in at the palace was attacked by hundreds of pro-Morsy demonstrators. The day before, thousands had marched to the palace.
Security forces retreated Tuesday night, leaving the area to peaceful protesters who surrounded the palace and quickly covered the walls with graffiti heavily attacking Morsi, dubbing him a “dictator”. Some then decided to hold a sit-in.
On Wednesday Morsy supporters attacked the sit in and destroyed the tents, beat the Morsi-opponents up, scattering their belongings around. The Morsi supporters said they were outraged by the graffiti drawn over the palace’s walls. “We were deeply offended by these endless insults,” said a furious Brotherhood member, who was quoted by Egypt Independent. “We came to protect the legitimacy of the elected president.” On Thursday tanks appeared around the palace. Reuters New Agency identified them as troops belonging to the Presidential Guard and Republican Guard, whose taks it is to protect the presidency.
ElBaradei during the press conference, flanked by Sabbahi (left) and Moussa (Ahram Online).
Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei threatened nationwide protests until President Mohamed Morsy responds to calls for national dialogue over the draft constitution and retracts his recent constitutional declaration. ElBaradei was appointed coordinator of the National Salvation Front on Tuesday. He gave
his warning at a press conference Tuesday night, attended by the leaders of the National Salvation Front.The front is a coalition of political powers opposing Morsy’s 22 November constitutional declaration, which gave him the ability to override judicial decisions. The front brings together ElBaradei of the Constitution Party, Sabbahi of the Popular Current Party, Moussa of the Conference Party, Al-Sayed al-Badawy of the Wafd Party, and other political figures.Zaghloul al-Balshy, the secretary general of the high elections commission, on Wednesday resigned and said that he is not going to oversee the referedum on the Constitution. Also the presidential advisers Seif Abdel-Fattah and Ayman El-Sayyad quit their job out of protest.
Vice President Mahmoud Mekki proposed "personal ideas" for a negotiated way out on Wednesday, saying amendments to disputed articles in the constitution could be agreed with the opposition. A written agreement could then go to parliament, to be elected after a referendum on the constitution on December 15. "There must be consensus," he told a news conference, saying opposition demands must be respected to overcome the crisis. Egyptian opposition leader Amr Moussa said that President Morsi should make a formal offer for dialogue, rather than what Mekki had presented as personal ideas to resolve the row.