Thousands of Islamists rallied in Cairo on Friday in support of Mohamed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood president who has been the target of protester rage in weeks of violent demonstrations.
Repeating the pattern of recent weeks, Mursi’s opponents rallied again on Friday, this time gathering outside El-Quba, one of the presidential palaces in the northern suburbs of Cairo. The activists dubbed it “Checkmate Friday”.
The protest, which drew several hundred people by afternoon descended into violence as night fell. State media reported that “troublemakers” had thrown rocks and petrol bombs. Security forces unleashed tear gas and water cannon, it said.
The pro-Mursi rally was called by a hardline Salafi Islamist group, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiya, in what it described as a protest under the banner “Together Against Violence”.
The group waged an armed insurrection against the state in the 1990s but its leadership renounced violence more than a decade ago. It has entered mainstream politics since autocratic president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011.
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