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Egypt crisis escalates

Pro and anti-government demonstrators face off in Heliopolis

Supporters of President Morsy clash with anti-Morsy protesters outside the Egyptian presidential palace. (AFP Photo / Gianluigi Guercia)

Tensions ran high at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday afternoon when the Muslim Brotherhood announced its members would march to Heliopolis.

Supporters of President Mohamed Morsy arrived at the palace and tore down tents erected by anti-Muslim Brotherhood protesters the night before.

Demonstrators in support of the president went through contents in the tents, claiming to have found drugs and alcohol. They painted over anti-government graffiti that had been drawn on the walls surrounding the palace the night before.

“We are here to support the legitimacy of Dr. Morsy,” said Abdel Hakim Ahmed. “There is nothing better than this constitution.”

Supporters chanted “yes to the constitution,” and “strike again, Morsy. There is still Al-Zend and Tahany,” in reference to notable anti-Muslim Brotherhood judges Tahany Al-Gibali and Ahmed Al-Zend.

Others chanted, “the people demand the execution of Abdel Meguid Mahmoud,” the Mubarak-appointed prosecutor general who was dismissed by Morsy through his constitutional declaration.

Central Security Forces blocked off Marghany Street in the direction of the palace, preventing anti-Morsy demonstrators from approaching. Police allowed pro-Morsy marches to advance through the left side of the street, and cordoned it off as the two sides exchanged opposing chants.

Activist Nawara Negm said that supporters of the president attacked an anti-Morsy march to the palace, assaulting a group that was predominantly women.

Those who had come to voice their disapproval of the president chanted, “sell, sell, sell the revolution, Badie,” and “we are not infidels, we are not atheists. Down with the rule of the Supreme Guide” as his supporters advanced down Marghany Street towards the palace.

Going into Wednesday night, groups of anti-Morsy protesters gathered at Roxy Square and Qubba Street, calling for the downfall of the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide Mohamed Badie.

In Ramses square rocks and fireworks were thrown as clashes showed no sign of abating on Wednesday evening.

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