by Mahmoud Fouly
|Egyptians carry an injured protester during clashes with security forces near Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 25, 2013. Clashes between protesters and police renewed Friday in Egypt, leaving six policemen injured, at a time when Egypt marked the second anniversary of the 2011 unrest that toppled former leader Hosni Mubarak. (Xinhua/Amru Salahuddien)
Cairo, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of Egyptians took to public squares across the country to protest against President Mohamed Morsi as well as Muslim Brotherhood on Friday, the second anniversary of the unrest that toppled Hosni Mubarak's regime.
In iconic Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, thousands of protestors gathered to express dissatisfaction with President Morsi, shouting statements like "Morsi, leave!" "Constitution invalid!" and "Down with the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood chief, " accusing Morsi of being a puppet of Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohamed Badie rather than being a decision-maker.
Large signs reading anti-Brotherhood statements were hanging all over the square, with Egyptian flags of all sizes waved by protestors, who repeatedly chanted, "The people want to topple the regime!"
Protestors also raised posters of whom they refer to as " martyrs of the uprising," and held exhibitions in the tents displaying their portraits and slogans.
In the center of the square, a 50-year-old woman waved a sign reading "Down with the Muslim Brotherhood rule!"
"I am here to protest against the Muslim Brotherhood rule, as the country is getting from bad to worse since Morsi came into power. This is not Egypt I was born in and lived in," she said.
Ahmed, a 26-year-old man, told Xinhua that although he had voted for Morsi, now he came to protest against the president for failing to fulfill campaign promises.
"I think today's demands are legitimate. We demand constitutional amendments to make the constitution for all Egyptians, and we demand sacking the prosecutor-general and the unqualified government," said Ahmed.
Egypt's main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front (NSF) , led by liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei and other leading figures, has called for nationwide protests on Friday.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's main supporters, said they would not join the protests, but launched instead an initiative called "Together to Build Egypt" as a constructive way of commemorating the anniversary.
At one point, a bearded man entered the Tahrir Square, which stirred fierce responses from protestors. Although the man and his friend repeatedly claimed they were not members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the friction almost escalated into clashes.
Magdi, an engineer who also wears a beard, sat on a crowded sidewalk in the square. Dissatisfied with Muslim Brotherhood's policies, he told Xinhua that not all bearded men were supporters of Islamists.
"I would not stay at home and watch the Muslim Brotherhood attempt to sell the country," said Magdi. "So I came to join protestors, as we haven't seen anything positive done since Morsi assumed office."
Mohamed Zarie, lawyer and human rights activist, told Xinhua that the goals of the "revolution" have not been achieved, which include "good living, freedom and social justice."
Abdel-Khaliq Farouk, economic and strategic expert, said that he came to protest against vague, unclear policies of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as "the new marriage between political power and business."
"The Islamist businessmen now have great influence over the country's political leadership," Farouk said, calling the current government "one of the biggest disasters that hit the country" as Morsi selected unqualified officials to run national affairs.
At Qasr al-Aini Street near Tahrir Square, protestors and security men threw stones at one another for hours, who are separated by cement blocks.
At another street leading to the cabinet and parliament headquarters, protestors, mostly young men, hurled stones at security men, while the latter returned the stones in addition to tear gas, injuring 10 protestors and several security men.
"My ambulance received a few injured young men with cuts in the head and above the eyebrows, which seemed to result from stone hits," Sharif Abdel-Hadi told Xinhua.
Adel Sayed, an eyewitness, said "Some protestors attempted to pull down the cement wall and set fire to small tree branches."
Dozens of protestors gathered outside the presidential palace in Heliopolis, Cairo, some of whom threw Molotov cocktails at the security men who replied with tear gas to disperse the protestors.
So far, at least 160 have been injured in protests nationwide on Friday, Health Ministry spokesman Ahmed Omar told Xinhua.