Egyptian Protesters Clash with Police at Presidential Palace

Cairo, February 2 (RHC)– Egyptian protesters have clashed with police outside the presidential palace in Cairo, after a week of violence in which more than 60 people were killed.  Riot police used tear gas and water cannons to try to drive back the crowds throwing rocks and petrol bombs.

One person was reportedly killed and more than 50 injured.  Rallies were also held in several other cities around the country.  The protesters accuse Islamist President Mohammed Morsi of betraying the 2011 uprising — a claim he denies.

In a statement on his Facebook page, the president warned that security forces would “act with utmost decisiveness” to protect state institutions and those groups behind the violence would be held “politically accountable”.

On Friday, thousands of people chanted “Leave, leave, Morsi!” as they gathered outside the presidential palace, in the north of the capital.  Some of the demonstrators then began throwing Molotov cocktails over the palace walls and lighting fires in the streets.

Later reports quoted eyewitnesses as saying that at least one person was shot dead during the clashes.  Skirmishes were reported close to the capital’s Tahrir Square, where thousands more marched, urging Morsi to leave.

Large crowds also rallied in Port Said – one year after football riots in the city, which killed 74 people.  Port Said, at the northern end of the Suez Canal, has seen the worst of the violence over the past week, in clashes sparked by death sentences imposed on 21 local people in connection with the football riots.

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