Al Jazeera’s Cairo office was firebombed by a group of protesters on Wednesday who also attacked a police chief who tried to calm the crowd down as violent protests in central Cairo entered a third day.
The protesters hit the satellite broadcaster’s studio overlooking Tahrir Square with Molotov cocktails, engulfing the building in flames, reports Boston.com.
Reporter Ahmed el-Dassouki stated that about 300 protesters approached the building before noon. They shouted obscenities, set the studio on fire, stormed the building, and looted the studio. El-Dassouki stated:
“They accuse our network of being biased and not objective.”
Many of the protesters have accused the channel of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood — the country’s most powerful political source.
After their attack on Al Jazeera’s Cairo office, a crowd beat up Cairo Police Chief Osama el-Saghir, who traveled to Tahrir Square to diffuse the situation. Protesters drove the police chief from the square with punches and kicks while fire crews rushed to put out the office fire started with Molotov cocktails.
CBS News notes that the conflict began three days ago as a peaceful demonstration demanding retribution for protesters who were slain by police a year ago. It was also meant as an expression of anger at the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohammed Morsi.
The protesters have hung a huge banner that reads, “Muslim Brotherhood not allowed.” Monday was the first anniversary of a protest that turned into a deadly confrontation between police and demonstrators. The protests set off days of violence that left 42 people dead and hundreds of wounded after security forces fired tear gas, shotgun rounds, and rubber bullets into the crowd.
Footage of Al Jazeera’s Cairo office after it was firebombed appeared on Egyptian television, showing scorched lighting equipment dangling from charred walls. Abdulla Ebeid, the operations manager, commented about the attack, adding, “as you can see, all the components got ruined.”