Protesters, security clash at Media Production City

Clashes broke out Sunday evening at Media Production City between protesters and security forces after demonstrators had earlier responded to calls to storm certain TV channel studios in the city. Demonstrators prevented cameramen from reporting on the clashes.

Dozens of protesters supporting President Mohamed Morsy had rallied in front of Media Production City and tried to storm Gate 4. Police created a security cordon behind the gate inside the city to stop the demonstrators.

Protesters chanted slogans against media personalities as they tried to break in, while wearing green headbands with “There is no god but Allah” written on them, and raised flags with the same slogan. They also raised flags of the Raya Party, led by Salafi leader Hazem Salah Abu Ismail.

The protesters had responded to Islamist activists’ calls to besiege the studios of five privately owned satellite channels — Al-Hayat, ONtv, Al-Nahar, Al-Qahira wal Nas and CBC.

Some members of Umatana, an independent Islamist movement, who participated in the demonstration assaulted video journalists from satellite channels in an attempt to prevent them from filming as they tried to storm the city gate.

A group of protesters tried to prevent others from storming the gate, but they insisted on entering the city to try and reach satellite channels’ studios.

Demonstrators painted graffiti on the ground in front of Media Production City Gate 4, condemning those who still believe the media.

Security forces had intensified their presence Sunday morning in front of Media Production City to deal with potential violence and to protect workers in the city, after Islamist activists’ threats to storm it.

More than 15 ambulances were deployed to the area in case clashes erupted.

On Saturday, Muslim Brotherhood Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein said that the group will not take part in the protests in the Media Production City.

Morsy accused private media Sunday of inciting violence. Without giving names, he said owners of private satellite channels who have problems with the state, such as not paying taxes, use media host to criticize and insult him.

This is the second time Islamists have protested in front of Media Production City, a vast complex containing high-tech studios and open-air filming areas located outside Cairo.

In December, various Salafi movements organized one-week sit-in in front of the city under the title of “Sharia First,” to demand the dismissal of talk show hosts they considered “tools for burning the country.”

Islamists have recently lambasted private media that have been very critical of the Muslim Brotherhood. Islamists say some channels — such as Dream TV, owned by businessman Ahmed Bahgat;  ONtv, which was owned by businessman Naguib Sawiris; and CBC, which is owned by businessman Mohamed al-Amin — are tools for the counter-revolution.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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