Several killed in Egypt clashes; Morsi’s advisers resign

Al Jazeera reports: At least four people have been killed in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, as supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi clashed near the presidential palace, the health ministry says.

Fighting continued into the early morning on Thursday with fires burning in the streets where the opposing sides threw stones and petrol bombs at each other.

“No to dictatorship,” Morsi’s opponents chanted, while their rivals chanted: “Defending Morsi is defending Islam.”

Riot police were sent in to break up the violence on Wednesday, in which about 350 people were injured.

A small group of opposition activists had been camped outside the palace since Tuesday night, when tens of thousands rallied against a controversial decree which gives Morsi near-absolute power.

Supporters of the president marched to the palace on Wednesday and tore down the opposition’s tents. Witnesses said they threw stones and used clubs to attack demonstrators. Opposition protesters were driven away from the palace and fled down side streets.

Thirty-two people were arrested, according to a statement from the interior ministry.

Protests spread to other cities, and offices of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Ismailia and Suez were torched.

Both sides blamed the other for starting the clashes: Opposition leaders said Morsi was responsible for the bloodshed, while senior Brotherhood officials accused the opposition of “inciting violence”.

Morsi did not make any public appearances on Wednesday, but his prime minister, Hisham Qandil, issued a brief statement calling for calm “to give the opportunity for the efforts being made now to begin a national dialogue”.

Al Ahram reports: Egypt president Mohamed Morsi’s aides Seif Abdel-Fattah and Ayman El-Sayyad have resigned on Wednesday in the wake of the clashes that erupted in front of the presidential palace between supporters and opponents of Morsi.

“We are today announcing the decision that we have made but put on hold for more than a week. We hoped to find a solution, but to no avail,” El-Sayyad said on his Twitter account.

Seif Abdel-Fattah told Al-Jazeera television: “Egypt is bigger than a narrow-minded elite. Egypt will continue its revolution.”

“We can no longer stay silent because they [the Muslim Brotherhood] have harmed the nation and the revolution and we need to rebuild Egypt…the youth are the ones who took to the front lines to serve the revolution…I pray for mercy for the souls of the martyrs.”

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