CAIRO — Twelve people were injured in clashes across Egypt on Tuesday, as protesters gathered to commemorate the second anniversary of deadly street fighting that preceded parliamentary elections following the toppling of longtime autocratic Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.
The fighting Tuesday comes at a time when the Egyptian political scene remains deeply polarized between supporters and opponents of the military coup that ousted Mubarak's successor, Islamist Mohammad Morsi. While Morsi won Egypt's first fully democratic election for president, his autocratic style reminded many of Mubarak's, and his ouster was met with wide-scale public support for the Egyptian army.
Egyptian health ministry officials told the Middle East News Agency that at least three people were injured Tuesday in clashes between pro- and anti-military protesters in Tahrir Square, the iconic site of the major anti-Mubarak demonstrations in early 2011.
Eight others were injured in Mansoura in confrontations with security forces, who fired tear gas at demonstrators demanding an end to military rule. Another person was reported injured in Alexandria.
The generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces became Egypt’s de facto rulers following the ouster of Mubarak. Prior to the parliamentary elections, protests demanding an end to army rule and the peaceful transition of power to a civilian authority were frequently met with displays of force.
“We remember the military council who tried to single-handedly usurp power, then committed to a road map for the transition of the rule to an elected civilian authority,” read a statement issued by an alliance of mainly Islamist supporters of Morsi, on Nov 17.
Supporters of Morsi are now protesting the coup that forced him and the Muslim Brotherhood from power, projecting it as an attempt by Egypt’s military to return to its role as ruler of the state.
The protests Tuesday commemorating the deadly November 2011 demonstrations included many secularists who favored Morsi's ouster but also remain wary of the military's possible intention of remaining in control.
One cartoon comic strip circulating on social media shows a police officer with his arm around a protester’s shoulder, saying, “The Brotherhood deserve everything that is happening to them. They sold you out while we were killing you."
Prior to Tuesday's protests, the Islamist alliance said that its members would steer clear of the Tahrir Square area to avoid confrontation with any of the other protest groups.