[Supporters of Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans during a march in Nasr City in Cairo, on Sept. 6. Several thousands of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi staged protests across Egypt on Friday to demands his reinstatement as security forces intensified presence around main squares and roads. (Xinhua/Amru Salahuddien) ]
CAIRO, (Xinhua): Clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted president Mohamed Morsi demonstrators killed two and injured 16 others in Egypt on Friday, raising concerns in the international community over escalating violence in the country.
The two victims, one of whom was a supporter of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, were killed as the two sides clashed with each other in Damietta and Alexandria governorates.
Supporters of the Brotherhood staged rallies in different parts of Egypt on Friday, demanding Morsi’s reinstatement and denouncing what they described as a “military coup” that ousted their president.
The demonstrators chanted anti-police slogans and held yellow sheets with four fingers, a symbol of a sit-in outside the Rabaa-el-Adaweya Mosque that was dispersed on Aug. 14 by the army.
The protests came a day after Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim survived a bomb attack targeting his convoy, during which one recruit was injured and died Friday while 24 others were also injured, said the Health Ministry.
The initial investigations revealed that the explosive device used in the attack is not home-made, state-run Ahram website reported.
Meanwhile, hundreds of citizens organized a march in Cairo’s Maadi district on Friday, condemning the terrorist attack targeting the minister’s convoy.
Carrying the Egyptian flags, protesters chanted slogans in support of the armed forces and the Interior Ministry. Some of them even held placards saying “Muslim Brotherhood are terrorists.”
The Islamic Salafi Call group underlined on Friday its firm stance against the use of weapons against anyone, including officials.
The escalating violence in Egypt had triggered anxiety in the international community.
Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted on Friday that the unstable situation in Egypt is endangering the whole region.
At the closing press conference of a G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Putin said the presence of terrorism in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula is dangerous not only to Israel but also to Egypt.
Russia condemned the assassination attempt on the Egyptian minister and called for renouncing violence so as to achieve political goals.
Moscow stressed that taking reform serves all segments of the Egyptian society, which should be conducted on the basis of dialogue with the participation of all political powers in the country.
The German government also strongly condemned the attempted bomb attack, stressing that such terrorist action is unacceptable and perpetrators should be held accountable.
Meanwhile, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said Friday that his country denounced the attack on the convoy of the minister, reiterating France’s support for the Egyptian people.
In his first TV interview aired by the state TV on Tuesday, Egyptian Interim President Adli Mansour said imposing state of emergency and curfew was an exceptional measure, which is essential for the safety of Egypt.
Hailing efforts of the police and army to restore security, Mansour expressed his hopes to end the dusk-to-dawn curfew as long as the security situation is improved.
On the other hand, Tawheed Tawfiq, a senior official of the Interior Ministry, suggested Friday that the current curfew could not be further reduced, for it has significant role in providing safety feeling for citizens.
The Cabinet imposed the curfew on Aug. 14 as the presidency announced a one-month state of emergency in the country due to the turmoil after the security forces dispersed two sit-ins organized by supporters of Morsi.
The curfew was shortened twice to alleviate burdens on citizens and respond to popular demands by the Cabinet. It currently starts on 11:00 p.m. (2100 GMT) and last until 6:00 a.m. (0400 GMT). But the curfew hours on Fridays did not shortened and starts at 7:00 p.m.(0500 GMT), as Egyptians tend to hold protests on Fridays.