The political unrest in Egypt is growing more intense.
On Wednesday, there were violent clashes between opponents and supporters of President Mohammed Morsi outside the presidential palace in Cairo.
Dozens of people were injured.
The Egyptian opposition is demanding that Morsi roll back the decree with which he gave himself sweeping new powers, and that he cancel the upcoming referendum on a new constitution written largely by Morsi’s Islamist supporters.
But the president and his government are not backing down.
Merna el-Bari is a student and a protester in Cairo who was at the demonstrations Wednesday evening.
She says Morsi’s supporters began the violence, with knives and then guns.
His opponents fought back, she said, with broken fence rails and debris.
She says the protesters do not trust Morsi to surrender the powers he has seized by his decree.
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Marco Werman: I’m Marco Werman, this is The World. The political unrest in Egypt is growing more intense. Today, there were violent clashes between opponents and supporters of Mohammed Morsi outside the presidential palace in Cairo. Dozens of people were injured. The Egyptian opposition is demanding that Morsi roll back the decree he enacted which gave himself sweeping new powers and that he cancel the upcoming referendum on a new constitution written largely by Morsi’s Islamist supporters. But the president and his government are not backing down. Merna el-Bari is a student and a protestor in Cairo. We spoke with her earlier, just after she left the demonstrations at the palace in the Heliopolis district of the capital.
Merna el-Bari: We were protesting by the presidential palace as yesterday, but the situation got intense as the supporters, Morsi supporters and many Muslim brothers joined the scene. The clashes started as they were chanting and then they, they actually began the clashes first by hitting. They broke through the tents that we were demonstrating in and started breaking things and hitting many demonstrators. Luckily, I wasn’t injured, but many of my friends were. And suddenly we started hearing bullets, gunshots and actually three people died. This was confirmed by [inaudible] Hospital. And they were shocked by the Muslim brothers.
Werman: Yeah, we haven’t seen any reports of this from news agencies, but were opposition protestors fighting back against the Muslim brothers?
el-Bari: Yes, they were fighting back. Some, some people were like hitting with objects. For instance, the security fences and maybe some, some rocks from the ground, but no protestor from the opposition had any weapons. They even had knives, they had Swiss knives. They were stabbing people in the faces. The protestors did not have any kind of weapons
Werman: You, you saw this yourself.
el-Bari: Yes, I saw this myself and one of–he’s a very known opposition figure, he’s called Ahmed Douma. He was actually stabbed in front of me in his face.
Werman: So tell me why are you protesting, Merna?
el-Bari: I’m protesting against the presidential decree because he immunized the constitutional assembly,
Werman: President Morsi.
el-Bari: which had no national consensus, and therefore, went against the draft constitution that it should be put on referendum that way.
Werman: So President Morsi has promised to hand back power once the vote happens. I mean you don’t, you don’t have faith in him that he’ll do that?
el-Bari: No, the problem is the people, they don’t have any trust.
Werman: That was Merna el-Bari, a student in Cairo who was one of those protesting against President Morsi today.
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