By Ola Noureldin
Unrest continued to grow in Mahalla on Friday night as anti-government protesters clashed with supporters of President Mohamed Morsi in front of a security office.
Earlier that night, hundreds had gathered in Al-Shoun Square in the Nile delta city for an anti-government presentation, called Ikhwan Kazeboon (The Brotherhood Are Liars). A march demanding the president step down then started.
Ahmed Abdel Qader, an activist in Mahalla, stated the march was “not planned and it increased spontaneously. It was a mobilisation for 30 June.”
He said violence did not erupt until “a bearded man who seemed to be affiliated with the Salafis appeared with a gun.”
“He chanted pro-government slogans and randomly fired shots to disperse the demonstration,” Abdel Qader added.
Mostafa Ali, member in Al-Dostour party said a fight broke out, before protesters handed the alleged instigator to the police.
Abdel Qader said 15 minutes later “jihadists” drove past on motorcycles shooting firearms.
“They disappeared and re-appeared, but we knew they were heading towards the police office to free the man who was arrested earlier,” Abdel Qader claimed.
Civilians gathered around the security office to help the officers protect the building, Ali added.
Islam Molda, a Tanta resident said: “The protesters demanded the intervention of the security officers. They immediately responded and arrested the Salafis.”
Khaled El Masry, a Salafi lawyer said that he was aware of the clashes. However, he denied that any Salafis were arrested.