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At least one person has been killed and more than 20 injured in clashes outside Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral following the funerals of four Coptic Christians killed in religious violence.

Coptic mourners leaving Cairo’s main cathedral are said to have clashed with local residents.

Police fired tear gas to break up the violence.

The head of Egypt’s national ambulance service, Mohammed Sultan, said one person had died of birdshot wounds.

Mourners inside the church had earlier chanted slogans against Egypt’s Islamist President, Mohamed Morsi.

Witnesses told local TV stations that the violence started when a mob attacked mourners as they exited the cathedral, pelting them with rocks and petrol bombs.

At least one person has been killed and more than 20 injured in clashes outside Cairo's St Mark's Cathedral following the funerals of four Coptic Christians killed in religious violence

At least one person has been killed and more than 20 injured in clashes outside Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral following the funerals of four Coptic Christians killed in religious violence

The Christians responded by throwing rocks back, the witnesses said, until police arrived and attempted to quell the unrest.

Egypt’s state news agency said the streets around St Mark’s Cathedral had seen “on-and-off” clashes between Christians and “unidentified persons”.

It was reported that a fire had started in a building adjacent to the Cathedral, but the blaze had since been extinguished.


Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Christian church, appealed for calm and the preservation of national unity.

Speaking on Sunday evening, he said he was in contact with government officials.

Egypt’s minority of Coptic Christians, who make up about 10% of the population, have accused the government of failing to protect them, following the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians have been seen numerous times since then, but this weekend’s violence was the worst seen in several months.

Police said five deaths – four Copts and one Muslim – occurred on Saturday in Khosous, about 10 miles north of Cairo, after inflammatory symbols were drawn on an Islamic institute, provoking an argument.

The dispute escalated into a gun battle between Christian and Muslim residents, while Christian-owned shops were also attacked.

Violence there flared again on Sunday, with police reporting more sectarian fighting on the streets and clashes between police and youths.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s top judicial body has urged the chief prosecutor appointed by Mohamed Morsi to step down.

Talaat Abdullah, who was named to the post by President Mohamed Morsi in December, has provoked anger by demanding the arrest of several high-profile political activists.

In a statement on Sunday, Egypt’s Supreme Judiciary Council urged Talaat Abdullah to return to his previous job as a judge.

Last week a court annulled the presidential decree that appointed him, but Talaat Abdullah continued to carry out his duties, including issuing arrest warrants for activists accused of insulting President Mohamed Morsi and Islam.

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At least 30 people have died in today’s Port Said clashes sparked by the sentencing to death of 21 local people over football riots in Egypt.

Supporters of the defendants tried to storm the prison holding them and attacked police stations.

The 21 were sentenced over riots which killed 74 people after a football game at Port Said stadium last February.

Saturday’s violence follows a day of unrest on the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s national defence council, which is headed by President Mohamed Morsi, has condemned the violence and called for dialogue, saying it would consider declaring a curfew in affected areas if necessary.

Thousands of people had taken to the streets on Friday to voice their opposition to the Islamist president, accusing him of betraying the revolution.

At least seven people were killed and more than 450 wounded in unrest across Egypt.

All 21 defendants sentenced to death on Saturday were fans of Port Said club al-Masry. When the verdicts were announced by a judge in the Cairo court, relatives of victims cheered.

However, the ruling caused supporters of the defendants to go on a rampage in Port Said. Two police officers were shot dead outside the city’s prison and the state security building was reportedly set on fire.

At least another 28 people were killed and about 300 were wounded in further clashes, officials said.

Two footballers were among those killed in Saturday’s clashes, state news agency Mena reported. They are former al-Masry goalkeeper Tamir al-Fahlah and Muhammad al-Dadhawi, a player for a lower-division Port Said club.

At least 30 people have died in today’s Port Said clashes sparked by the sentencing to death of 21 local people over football riots in Egypt

At least 30 people have died in today’s Port Said clashes sparked by the sentencing to death of 21 local people over football riots in Egypt

The violence continued despite the deployment of army units on the city’s streets.

Meanwhile, in Cairo, clashes also broke out between police and protesters near Egypt’s Interior Ministry. Police fired tear gas to try to prevent them from reaching the building.

Last year’s football riots led to the suspension of the league.

They began minutes after the game, when al-Masry fans invaded the pitch, hurling stones and fireworks at visiting supporters from Cairo club al-Ahly.

A section of al-Ahly supporters, known as the “ultras”, played a prominent role in the protests against ex-President Mubarak.

Some accused supporters of the toppled leader of instigating the Port Said violence. They also accused police of doing little to prevent the violence.

Seventy-three people, including nine policemen, were tried over the stadium clashes. None are al-Ahly fans.

The judge said he would announce verdicts for the remaining defendants on March 9.

Friday saw a big anti-government rally in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, with opposition supporters clashing with police.

There was also unrest in 12 out of 27 of Egypt’s provinces. At least six of the deaths occurred in Suez.

In Ismailia, protesters set fire to the headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The city’s governorate headquarters was later also stormed.

The liberal opposition accuses Mohamed Morsi of being autocratic and driving through a new constitution that does not protect adequately freedom of expression or religion.

The government is also being blamed for a deepening economic crisis.

One of the demonstrators at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Momen Asour, said he had come to demand an end to President Mohamed Morsi’s rule.

“We have not seen anything. Neither freedom, nor social justice, or any solution to unemployment, or any investment,” he said.

“On the contrary, the economy has collapsed.”

President Mohamed Morsi and his allies have dismissed the claim, saying they have a democratic mandate following recent elections. The constitution, drawn up by an Islamist-dominated body, was approved by a referendum last month.

Port Said 2012 football deaths

  • 74 people killed in Port Said stadium on February 2, 2012
  • Clashes broke out between rival fans of clubs al-Masry and al-Ahly
  • Fans flooded on to pitch attacking Ahly players and fans as match ended
  • Most died of concussion, cuts and suffocation
  • The largest death toll in Egypt’s football history

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An Egyptian court has sentenced to death 21 defendants over clashes between rival football fans at Port Said stadium in which 74 people were killed last February.

The riots began after a league game at Port Said stadium between local side al-Masry and Cairo club al-Ahly.

The violence – Egypt’s worst football disaster – sparked riots in Cairo during which a further 16 people died.

The sentences came after a day of clashes between security forces and supporters of the secular opposition.

An Egyptian court has sentenced to death 21 defendants over clashes between rival football fans at Port Said stadium in which 74 people were killed last February

An Egyptian court has sentenced to death 21 defendants over clashes between rival football fans at Port Said stadium in which 74 people were killed last February

Hundreds of thousands took to the streets across Egypt to mark the second anniversary of the revolution that ousted ex-President Hosni Mubarak and voice their opposition to Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

At least seven people were killed in Friday’s unrest.

Last year’s football riots led to the suspension of the league.

It began when al-Masry fans invaded the pitch, hurling stones and fireworks at the visitors.

At the time some fans – who said security forces appeared to do little to prevent the clashes – accused supporters of toppled President Hosni Mubarak of instigating the incident.

Seventy-three people, including policemen, were tried.

The judge said he would announce the verdict for the remaining 52 defendants on March 9.

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Fresh clashes have broken out in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on the eve of the second leg of voting in the country’s constitutional referendum.

Police fired tear gas as thousands of Islamists were met by a smaller group of protesters near a large mosque.

The Islamists back President Mohamed Morsi and his draft constitution. Opponents say the document has been rushed and does not protect minorities.

Alexandria voted in the first leg of a referendum that has split the nation.

The capital, Cairo, has also voted. Seventeen of the 27 provinces will cast ballots on Saturday.

Islamists in favor of the draft had called for a large rally outside the Qaed Ibrahim mosque in the centre of Alexandria.

They chanted “God is Great” and “With blood and soul, we redeem Islam”.

A smaller group of opponents chanted anti-constitution slogans and the two sides threw stones at each other.

Police formed lines to keep the groups apart and fired tear gas, with the unrest subsiding after about 90 minutes.

The state news agency Mena quoted the health ministry as saying that 32 people had been injured.

Last week an ultraconservative cleric was trapped in a mosque in Alexandria for 12 hours as his supporters battled opponents outside.

Some 250,000 security personnel have been deployed nationwide to try to keep order during the referendum.

Turnout for the first round of voting was reported to be low – just above 30%. Unofficial counts suggested some 56% of those who cast ballots voted “yes” to the draft.

The opposition has complained of a number of cases of fraud.

Analysts believe Saturday’s leg will favor a “yes” vote as the areas to vote are considered in general to be more conservative.

Egypt’s latest crisis began on November 22, when Mohamed Morsi adopted sweeping new powers in a decree, stripping the judiciary of any power to challenge his decisions.

The decree spurred protests and clashes between Mohamed Morsi’s supporters and opponents.

Under pressure, the president revoked much of the decree but only after a constituent assembly had voted through the draft constitution and it had been put to the referendum.

The opposition had demanded the referendum be postponed, saying the assembly had approved the draft despite a boycott by liberals, secularists and Christians, who believe it does not adequately protect women, freedom of expression or religion.

The opposition did not, however, call a boycott, instead urging its members to vote “no”.

If the constitution passes, elections must take place within three months. In the meantime, legislative powers would remain with Mohamed Morsi.

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At least 56 people have been killed and hundreds of homes torched since Sunday, as clashes spread in Burma’s Rakhine state.

Several were killed overnight as violence erupted despite a night-time curfew in at least two towns.

The latest clashes are the first serious outburst of violence since June when a state of emergency was declared in Rakhine after 90 people were killed.

But tensions remained high between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims.

It is unclear what prompted the latest clashes. The Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims blame each other for the violence.

Clashes erupted in the Ratha Taung township late last night but this later spread to the Kyauk Taw township, where security forces opened fire, reports say.

Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing said on Thursday that the total death toll since violence flared up again on Sunday had reached 56.

More than 1,000 houses have been torched since then and police have deployed reinforcements in the townships of Min Bya and Mrauk Oo, where curfews are now in effect.

It was the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Muslims in May that set off the initial unrest.

A mob later killed 10 Muslims in retaliation, although they were unconnected with the earlier incident, and the violence escalated after that.

In June, about 90 people were killed as clashes spread across the state.

The houses of both Buddhists and Muslims were burnt down and thousands of people fled. Muslims throughout Burma have abandoned plans to celebrate the festival of Eid al-Adha because of the violence.

There is long-standing tension between the ethnic Rakhine people, who make up the majority of the state’s population, and Muslims, many of whom are Rohingya. The Burmese authorities regard the Rohingya as illegal immigrants and correspondents say there is widespread public hostility to them.

In August Burma set up a commission to investigate the violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the west of the country. Authorities earlier rejected an UN-led inquiry.

 

Fresh fighting in many parts of Syria throughout the night has followed the deaths on Wednesday of three top regime figures in a suspected suicide attack.

Syrian government and opposition both said large numbers of people died, in one of the bloodiest days of the conflict.

Activists said artillery and helicopters were used in the worst attack, on a funeral south of Damascus.

The president’s brother-in-law, defence minister and head of Bashar al-Assad’s crisis team died in yesterday’s bombing.

Rebel groups said the bomb had been planted the day before the meeting at national security headquarters where it was detonated. They predicted the government’s imminent fall.

The army has pledged to rid Syria of “criminal and murder gangs”.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that more than 150 people had died across the country on Wednesday, in one of the worst days of a 16-month revolt.

Syrian government and opposition both said large numbers of people died on July 18, in one of the bloodiest days of the conflict

Syrian government and opposition both said large numbers of people died on July 18, in one of the bloodiest days of the conflict

Video of one attack posted on the internet showed scenes of pandemonium after what activists said was a helicopter gunship attack on a funeral procession at Sitt Zeinab, south of the capital. They said at least 60 people were killed in this incident alone.

In Damascus, state media said, security forces launched operations in many areas which have been clashes in recent days, mainly in the south-west and north-east, killing many “terrorists”.

Activists reported more tanks moving towards the capital from the west.

Following Wednesday’s bombing, the government has vowed to root out ruthlessly what it describes as armed terrorists backed by outside powers.

The rebels are on the offensive too, warning state TV and radio to evacuate their personnel before its headquarters comes under attack.

In contrast with earlier explosions in Damascus, there were no photos or video from the scene of Wednesday’s blast at the security headquarters.

Among the victims were:

• Defence Minister and ex-chief of staff Gen Daoud Rajiha

• Deputy Defence Minister Assef Shawkat, married to Bashar al-Assad’s sister Bushra

• Assistant to the vice-president and head of crisis management office Gen Hassan Turkomani

• Two other senior officials – interior minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar and National Security Bureau chief Hisham Ikhtiar- were wounded

The US said the killings were a major blow to the regime.

“I think the incident today makes clear that Assad is losing control,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

“All of our partners internationally need to come together to support a transition.”

In Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah condemned what he termed a targeted killing: “We are going to miss them and we offer our condolences to the Syrian leadership and the Syrian army.”

Russia said some countries had incited the opposition rather than calming it down.

The attack prompted the UN Security Council to delay until Thursday a vote on a Western-sponsored resolution calling for tougher sanctions on Damascus.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the Security Council must “shoulder its responsibility and take collective and effective action.

“Time is of the essence. The Syrian people have suffered for too long. The bloodshed must end now,” Ban Ki-moon said.

The mandate for the UN’s observer mission runs out on Friday. The resolution before the Security Council would extend the mission and place international envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which could ultimately authorize force.

But Russia is firmly against harsher measures. In a telephone conversation between President Barack Obama and President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, the two leaders were said to be divided in their approaches to ending the bloodshed.

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Protesters against Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin have clashed with police in the capital Moscow, ahead of his inauguration on Monday for a third term.

The protest was peaceful until a small group of demonstrators tried to break through the lines of riot police.

Opposition activists Alexei Navalny, Sergei Udaltsov and Boris Nemtsov have all been detained.

A rival demonstration in support of Vladimir Putin has also been taking place.

Organizers said about 20,000 people took part in the opposition march – to an island close to the Kremlin – although police put the figure at about 8,000.

Alexei Navalny urged protesters not to disperse until those arrested had been released.

Protesters against Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin have clashed with police in the capital Moscow, ahead of his inauguration on Monday for a third term

Protesters against Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin have clashed with police in the capital Moscow, ahead of his inauguration on Monday for a third term

Speaking to a radio station by phone from a police van, Alexei Navalny also told the protesters to insist that the authorities carry out the reforms they have promised.

Police have been blocking the protesters from crossing a bridge over the Moscow River.

Clashes broke out when more people crowded towards the bridge and riot police wielding batons pushed demonstrators back towards the rally site, witnesses said.

Protesters launched a sit-in by the police lines.

They were refusing to leave unless Vladimir Putin’s inauguration was cancelled. They were also demanding an hour of TV airtime and new elections, our correspondent says.

Dozens of protesters are said to have been arrested.

TV images then showed police storming the stage of the rally where left-wing activist Sergei Udaltsov had been addressing protesters, and taking him to a waiting vehicle.

Before he was seized, Sergei Udaltsov had called for the inauguration to be cancelled and said through a loud-hailer: “We will not leave.”

The crowd chanted back: “We are the power.”

Russia’s Interfax news agency later reported that Alexei Navalny – an anti-corruption blogger and nationalist – had been arrested and Dozhd TV tweeted that liberal politician Boris Nemtsov had also been detained at the rally.

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At least 73 supporters have been killed in clashes between rival fans following a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said.

The supporters have been killed when fans invaded the pitch after a match between top-tier clubs Masry and al-Ahly on Wednesday.

It is feared the death toll could rise as about 1,000 people have been injured.

It is the biggest disaster in the country’s football history, said the Egyptian deputy health minister.

“This is unfortunate and deeply saddening,” Hesham Sheiha told state television.

Some of the dead were security officers, the Associated Press news agency quoted a morgue official as saying.

It appears some fans had taken knives into the stadium.

The lack of the usual level of security in the stadium might have contributed to the clashes.

At least 73 supporters have been killed in clashes between rival fans following a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said

At least 73 supporters have been killed in clashes between rival fans following a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said

Police in Egypt have been keeping a much lower profile since last year’s popular protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak from power.

Egyptian fans are notoriously violent, particularly supporters of al-Ahly known as the Ultras.

They have been heavily implicated in the political confrontations recently, our correspondent adds.

Wednesday’s violence broke out at the end of the match, which, unusually, Port Said side Masry won 3-1.

As match ended, their fans flooded onto the pitch attacking Ahly players and fans.

A small group of riot police tried to protect the players, but were overwhelmed.

Part of the stadium was set on fire.

Helicopters are being sent to Port Said to transport injured fans.

“This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us,” al-Ahly player Mohamed Abo Treika said.

All premier-league matches have been cancelled and the newly-elected Egyptian parliament is to hold an emergency session on Thursday, state TV has announced.

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At least 51 people, mostly women and children, have been killed by gunmen during the latest clashes in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei state, according to regional governor Kuol Manyang.

At least 22 others were injured after attackers raided and burned the village of Duk Padiet, governor Kuol Manyang added.

All wounded people have been evacuated to Juba, the capital, he said.

A series of attacks between ethnic groups in the region has displaced tens of thousands of people.

“We are expecting more to be injured because they ran to the villages last night,” Kuol Manyang said.

Officials told AFP news agency the killings were carried out by the Murle group on the Lou Nuer as revenge for an attack last month on the village of Pibor.

The cycle of violence has lasted months and killed hundreds of people. It began as cattle raids but has spiraled out of control.