In These New Times

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Al Jazeera’s Cairo bureau firebombed by Egyptian protesters

Posted by seumasach on November 21, 2012


21st November, 2012

Al-Jazeera’s office overlooking historical Tahrir Square in Cairo was firebombed by protesters as the third day of violent anti-government demonstrations rages on in Egypt’s capital.

The building was left gutted by the fire hours after protesters fell on the building with a volley of Molotov cocktails and gasoline bombs.

Footage broadcast on Egyptian television showed scorched lighting equipment dangling from the charred walls. No injuries were reported in the attack.

“At about 11 o’clock (1100 GMT) a group of protesters gathered near the office,” said Abdulla Ebeid, the operations manager of Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr said.

“They started to throw rocks at us and after all the windows were broken they threw a Molotov (petrol bomb) inside the studio so that it caught on fire. And, as you can see, all the components got ruined – the cameras, lighting systems and all the equipment got burned.”

Earlier in the day,  a mob fell upon Cairo’s security chief El-Sagheer as police and hundreds of protesters violently clashed on the square.

Primarily young demonstrators have battled with police in the heart of the city since Monday. Protesters have regularly lobbed stones and firebombs at security forces, who have responded by firing birdshot and tear gas into the crowd.

An interior ministry official said 118 people had been arrested since Monday. Medics say at least 60 have been injured in the three days of violence, while one protester from the secular April 6 movement active in remains in critical condition, AFP reports.

Protesters have accused Al-Jazeera of being biased towards the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement that was swept to power following the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.

Many secular and youth movements have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the country’s perceived shift towards theocracy.

Monday’s demonstrations erupted on the one-year anniversary of bloody street battles which left 42 people dead. Activists have called for a mass nationwide protest against the government of Mohamed Morsi on Friday.

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