At least 16 people were killed and hundreds injured in violent clashes across Egypt as angry protesters took to the streets for the second day today,storming the headquarters ruling Muslim Brotherhood and giving an ultimatum to President Mohamed Morsi to quit by tomorrow.
In the capital here,thousands of people massed at the iconic Tahrir Square – the epicentre of pro-democracy protests in 2011 – under the banner of Tamarod (Rebellion) movement which is driving the campaign with a petition of signatures seeking 61-year-old Morsi’s ouster and a snap election.
Anti-government protesters also stormed the national headquarters of Muslim Brotherhood here. They also ransacked the six-storey building and set it on fire.
State media quoting the country’s Health and Population Ministry said the nationwide death toll from June 30 protests stands at 16,with the total number of injuries estimated at 743 in 17 governorates.
“We give Mohamed Morsi until 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Tuesday July 2 to leave power,allowing state institutions to prepare for early presidential elections,” Tamarod said in a statement on its website.
The statement warned that Morsi would face a campaign of civil disobedience if he did not leave power by tomorrow.
Opposition activists claim more than 22 million people in the nation of 84 million have signed the petition and have urged the signatories to come out in Tahrir Square.
Eight people were killed in clashes between opponents and supporters of Morsi here,while three people died in the Assiut province.
One each died in the provinces of Fayoum,Beni Sueif and Kafr el-Sheikh. One protester died during a rally outside the presidential palace and another died in Alexandria,the ministry said.
Thousands of ordinary Egyptians – angered by Morsi’s policies – also took part in the rallies,described as the biggest protest in the history of Egypt.
The crowds seen in the Tahrir Square were the biggest since the 2011 revolution that ousted long time ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Thousands spent the night at Tahrir Square,focus of the Arab Spring protests which brought down Hosni Mubarak regime.
Morsi’s opponents say he has failed to tackle economic and security problems. Critics also say he has put the Islamist agenda of his Muslim Brotherhood party ahead of the country’s wider interests.
In Cairo,anti-Morsi supporters waving red cards chanted: “Irhal! Irhal!” (“Leave! Leave!”). Similar rallies were held in Alexandria,Kafr al-Sheikh,Sidi Salem,Damietta,Gharbiya,Suez,Sharqiya – the birthplace of Morsi,and other cities.
The opposition National Salvation Front said protesters will remain in the streets until the fall of the regime.
Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing,the Freedom and Justice Party,also vowed the pro-Morsi coalition will remain in sit-ins to defend until opposition end their rallies.
Egyptian presidency urged all political forces to commit to peaceful protest,insisting ‘dialogue’ is only way out of impasse. “Dialogue is the only way to reach consensus,” said a presidential spokesman yesterday.