Egypt: More than 110 hurt in 2nd anniversary protests

Last Updated 1:47 p.m. ET

CAIRO

Two years after Egypt's revolution began, the country's schism was on display Friday as the mainly liberal and secular opposition held rallies saying the goals of the pro-democracy uprising have not been met and denouncing Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

With the anniversary, Egypt is definitively in the new phase of its upheaval.

Tens of thousands massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where the 2011 uprising began, and outside Morsi's palace, with more heading to join them from other districts. Banners outside the palace proclaimed, "No to the corrupt Muslim Brotherhood government" and "Two years since the revolution, where is social justice?" Others demonstrated outside the state TV and radio building overlooking the Nile.

Similar if smaller crowds gathered in most of Egypt's main cities, including the Mediterranean cities of Alexandria. The protesters chanted the iconic slogans of the revolt against Mubarak, this time directed against Morsi — "Erhal! Erhal!" or "leave, leave" and "the people want to topple the regime."

Clashes erupted in multiple places between police firing tear gas and protesters throwing stones — in side streets around Tahrir, in Alexandria and the city of Suez and in six other cities. Outside the gates of the presidential palace in Cairo, masked protesters tried to push through a police barricade, prompting a barrage of tear gas by security forces.

In two towns in the Nile Delta, Menouf and Shibeen el-Koum, protesters blocked railway lines, disrupting train services to and from Cairo.

An Egyptian protester evacuates an injured boy during clashes near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013.
AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

At least 119 people were injured in the clashes around the country, the head of the national ambulances services, Mohammed Sultan, told privately owned CBC TV. He did not give details on the nature or location of the injuries.

The immediate goal of the protesters is a show of strength to push Morsi to amend the constitution, which was pushed through by his Islamist allies and rushed through a national referendum. But more broadly, protesters are trying to show the extent of public anger against what they call the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization Morsi hails from, which they say is taking over the state rather than setting up a broad-based democracy.

Protester Ehab Menyawi said he felt no personal animosity against the Brotherhood but opposed its approach toward Morsi as Egypt's first freely elected leader.

"The Brotherhood thinks that reform was achieved when their man came to power and that in itself is a guarantee for the end of corruption," he said as he marched from the upscale Cairo district of Mohandiseen to Tahrir with some 20,000 others.

An Egyptian protester lights flares during a demonstration in Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square on January 25, 2013. Thousands of Egyptians marched on Tahrir Square to demand change, two years after the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak and ushered in an Islamist government, as sporadic clashes erupted nearby.
MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

From the revolt that began Jan. 25, 2011 and led to the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, the country has moved into a deeply divisive struggle between ruling Islamists, who say a string of election victories the past year gives them to right to reshape Egypt, and their opponents, who say Islamists are moving to take complete power.

Overshadowing their struggle is an economy in free-fall that threatens to fuel public discontent. The vital tourism sector has slumped, investment shriveled, foreign currency reserves have tumbled and prices are on the rise. More pain is likely in the coming months if the government implements unpopular new austerity measures.

"Today the Egyptian people continue their revolution," said Hamdeen Sabahi, a leading opposition leader who finished a close third in presidential elections held in June. "They are saying 'no' to the Brotherhood state ... We want a democratic constitution, social justice, to bring back the rights of the martyrs and guarantees for fair elections."

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