Egypt on edge: Clashes break out between police, protesters



Egyptian riot police fired tear gas as supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi clashed with residents and police in downtown Cairo on August 13, 2013. The clashes began when dozens of religious scholars affiliated with Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood entered the Ministry of Endowments and were ordered out by police, a security official said.



CAIRO, Egypt — Police and locals attacked supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi during demonstrations outside government buildings in downtown Cairo Tuesday, according to several sources.

Thousands of the former president's supports had marched from protest camps in east Cairo to ministries in the downtown area, close to Tahrir Square.

NBC News reported police firing tear gas at Morsi supporters outside the Ministry of Religious Endowment, in downtown Cairo, with no known fatalities or injuries.

Verified social media reports also said intense clashes broke out at the Ministry of Interior a few streets away. GlobalPost tweeted from the scene:

Although Morsi supporters now take part in daily marches around their protest camps, it is rare to see them gathered downtown. The area around Tahrir Square is viewed as the backyard of demonstrators who supported the July 3 military takeover.

Local residents taunted the several thousand pro-Morsi demonstrators, calling them terrorists and throwing stones from rooftops. Many also gathered behind police lines, hurling insults at their opponents.

As the police moved in with tear gas, female demonstrators and their children retreated onto side streets, chanting furiously at police and at General Sisi, the military leader who led last month's military takeover. Two men wielding machetes were seen chasing the fleeing marchers.

Other Morsi supporters held their ground, many armed with bricks and rocks from nearby streets.

But despite their contentious decision to march into territory where violent clashes would seem a near certainty, protesters insisted that they had come with peaceful intentions.

"We did not come to make trouble," said Mohamed Fathy, as he used an empty tear gas canister to anchor a poster of Morsi to the ground. "We came here to support our president. These thugs may not like it, but we are not going away."