There are a minimum of four deaths in Egypt that include a 14-year-old boy, following antigovernment protests that included ransacking the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood on Friday while thousands of followers and adversaries of President Mohamed Morsi held clashing gatherings in Cairo, the countries capitol.
Although the rallies in Cairo were non-violent, In the port city of Alexandria, fatal conflicts exploded when protesters torched the Brotherhood’s headquarters. Security officials reported that an American citizen, Andrew Pochter 21, was stabbed to death close to the Brotherhood headquarters while photographing clashes between the opponents and the supporters.
Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, posted a statement on their website that Mr. Pochter was a 21-year-old student from Chevy Chase, Md., who was working interning in Egypt with a non-profit education organization. They also posted that the internship was not a Kenyon program.
Reports were conflicting about how Pochter died. Reuters reported that “Gen. Amin Ezz Eddin, a senior Alexandria security official, said he was stabbed in the chest in Sidi Gabr Square while using his mobile phone camera near an office of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which opponents had sent on fire and that he then died later in a military hospital.”
They also reported that an nameless medical official told the Associated Press that he died from a gunshot wound.
Spokespersons from the United States Embassy reported that he died during altercations between opponents and supporters of President Morsi. Two more people were reported killed in Alexandria, including 14-year-old Ahmed el-Deeb, and a 26-year-old laborer Mahmoud Suleiman, a who was pronounced dead from birdshot in the head in the hospital on Saturday.
The violent outbreak is a precursor building up to the planned Sunday protests against President Morsi. Protestors demand that Morsi voluntarily relinquish his position as president and schedule early elections for the countries top position.
Concerns about potential violent behaviour that could erupt at the rallies has left the country on pins and needles for weeks and additionally divided Egypt’s extremely polarized political class of the population.
Recently, Egypt’s highest religious authority and the military have cautioned about the likelihood of lethal social discord. US President Obama articulated his apprehension regarding the disturbances and said his administration’s main concern was the safety of its personnel in the American Embassy and consulates. On Friday the State Department advised Americans to postpone “unnecessary” visits to Egypt saying that it was permitting some staff members and their families to depart the country.
Speaking from South Africa, Mr. Obama, said his government supported “peaceful protests” and advised all sides to condemn any violence.
Mr Obama said, “We do not take sides in terms of who should be elected by the Egyptian people, or in terms of observing a process for democracy and the rule of law.”