The recently banned Muslim Brotherhood group commemorated the first anniversary of the deadly 2012 clashes in front of the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace by releasing a statement holding “bloody fascist coup supporters” responsible for the events.
The clashes represented the peak of a deeply polarized political conflict after deposed President Mohamed Morsi issued a constitutional declaration placing his decisions above the law on November 22, 2012.
Angered by what they saw as a dictatorial decree, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched to Ettehadiya, demanding the cancelation of the declaration. A small sit-in was staged in front of the palace and was violently dispersed by Morsi supporters the following day, leading to deadly clashes that claimed the lives of 10 protesters from both sides.
“In sum, the Ettehadiya events have turned to be a fabricated case against the legitimate president by bloody fascist coup supporters who have no legitimacy,” the Brotherhood’s statement claimed.
The statement justified Morsi’s contentious November 22 declaration by claiming he anticipated a “conspiracy” against his rule, especially given the fact that the judiciary habitually dissolved constitutional and democratically elected institutions.
“When the president sensed the intention to dissolve the Constituent Assembly, halting the process of drafting the Constitution and dissolving the Shura Council, he decided to issue a constitutional declaration immunizing them against dissolution and included [unsuitable] articles, which was used by the opposition to incite its supporters to protest in front of the presidential palace,” the statement continued.
The Brotherhood was angered by what they described as “a protest exceeding all limits,” with protesters using “obscene” chants and painting graffiti on the walls of the palace, as well allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails inside the palace. The statement claimed that demonstrators planned to break through the palace gates in order to storm the building and take over power.
The statement considered these alleged attempts as enough justification to call on its members to protest in front of the palace the following day in order to “make the police feel the responsibility to do its job.”
Police forces were noticeably absent during the protests and ensuing clashes.
The deposed group also claimed that eight of the 10 dead protesters were members of the Muslim Brotherhood group, contradicting the Brotherhood’s former spokesperson Mohamed Ghozlan’s earlier assertion that only six Brotherhood supporters were killed in the clashes.