Thursday, December 6, 2012

Egypt’s Republican Guard tanks and soldiers deploy around palace after deadly clashes

CAIRO (WaPo) — The Egyptian military’s elite Republican Guard deployed tanks and barbed-wire barricades around the presidential palace to restore order Thursday after violent clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi rocked his fledgling government.

Thousands of Morsi supporters from the powerful Muslim Brotherhood organization heeded the Guard’s mid-afternoon deadline to withdraw from the area, but scores of opponents — kept at a distance by the barricades — continued to demonstrate across the street from the palace, chanting slogans against the Islamist president.

The overnight clashes, in which Egypt’s divided and angry revolutionaries battled each other with rocks, molotov cocktails, sticks and clubs, left the capital on edge and raised concerns about the stability of the country’s first democratically elected government and its relationship with the military.

The commander of the Republican Guard, Maj. Gen. Mohamed Zaki, said his forces were deployed to separate the demonstrators, not suppress them, the official Middle East News Agency reported.