Palace Protests

The last week saw yet another flurry of political intrigue. Countering the massive protests seen in Tahrir last Tuesday, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis organized a demonstration at Cairo University, drawing at minimum hundreds of thousands.

Soon after, protests outside the High Constitutional Court by the Muslim Brotherhood prevented justices from entering the building to render a decision about the constitutionality of the fragmented Shura Council, Constituent Assembly, and the final draft of the constitution they produced. 

Wow. That's a mouthful! Long story short, Egypt's political debates about the direction of the country have become incredibly fractured and polarizing.

Today, hundreds of thousands marched on the Presidential Palace to protest the new draft of the constitution, which will go to referendum on December 15th.

Heliopolis, where the palace is located, is usually an (almost) calm area with beautiful Belgian architecture dating back almost 100 years.

The streets around the palace were lined with barbed wire and dozens of Central Security Force personnel vehicles. The police stood guard as protests shouted chants, calling for Morsi to leave. My favourite to date: "Al shaab yoreed eskat el nezzam" (Translation: 'The people want to down the regime'). There's something about this one that when it's chanted by tens of thousands of people, it sends shivers down your spine.

Soon after I left, protestors breached the barbed wire and were met with tear gas. The Central Security Forces retreated, and many allegedly jumped over the barriers in victory. According to various Twitter feeds, protestors also stole unused tear gas canisters and police shields.

As seems to be the general trend as of late, I was there with my camera. Photos below!

 The street outside the palace was heavily guarded- until protestors breached the barbed wire.

The street outside the palace was heavily guarded- until protestors breached the barbed wire.

 A protestor hands small candies through the barbed wire to a riot police officer. Candies, I might add, which the officer readily accepted.

A protestor hands small candies through the barbed wire to a riot police officer. Candies, I might add, which the officer readily accepted.

  " Al shaab yoreed eskat el nezzam!" (Translation: 'The people want to down the regime') A few people had problems with Amru and I shooting, but any tension was diffused pretty fast.

"Al shaab yoreed eskat el nezzam!" (Translation: 'The people want to down the regime') A few people had problems with Amru and I shooting, but any tension was diffused pretty fast.

 Worried that the crowd kept pushing closer, soldiers ordered the barbed wire barrier be reinforced. Some protestors eventually broke through.

Worried that the crowd kept pushing closer, soldiers ordered the barbed wire barrier be reinforced. Some protestors eventually broke through.

 Anger with the police started to mount. Many protestors yelled for the barriers to be removed, claiming that the protests would be peaceful.

Anger with the police started to mount. Many protestors yelled for the barriers to be removed, claiming that the protests would be peaceful.

 A woman (somehow) got through to the other side, and tried to calm the protestors. She told them not to be violent and to protest peacefully Unfortunately, people started throwing balls of paper at her.

A woman (somehow) got through to the other side, and tried to calm the protestors. She told them not to be violent and to protest peacefully Unfortunately, people started throwing balls of paper at her.

 Protestors used the barbed wire as a 'Speaker's Corner' pulpit against the police, and the officers received a tirade of insults.

Protestors used the barbed wire as a 'Speaker's Corner' pulpit against the police, and the officers received a tirade of insults.

 A prayer in front of the line of Central Security Forces punctuated the chants.

A prayer in front of the line of Central Security Forces punctuated the chants.

 The dividing line. 

The dividing line.