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Hundreds Protest Closed Egypt-Gaza Border

  • Jessica Desvarieux

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood opposition group called for mass protests against the government's response to Israeli airstrikes in Gaza but police moved to quell street protests over the issue. Fights between police officers and protesters broke out in Cairo, Friday, and dozens of arrests were reported.

In Egypt, about 400 people gathered near the Al Fatah Mosque in Cairo to protest the ongoing Israeli attacks in Gaza and to get the Egyptian government to open the border between Gaza and Egypt.

With tears in his eyes, one demonstrator says Egypt should open its border to help its Palestinian brothers, the injured, the sick. He says he cannot watching television reports of the violence and remain calm. He asks to remain anonymous to protect himself from possible Egyptian government reprisal.

Security officials say Egyptian police arrested at least 40 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood as they prepared for the demonstrations Friday against Israel's actions in Gaza.

So far more, than 400 Palestinians have been killed in the assault, which Israel launched in response to a series of rocket attacks by Hamas militants in Gaza.

The demonstrations in Cairo were just one of the many protests in the Muslim world from the Philippines to Jordan.

But in Cairo, the government moved in quickly to restrict the demonstrations. Fights erupted between police and protesters, but the security forces quickly prevailed. Officers in civilian clothing loaded protesters on to large police trucks and hauled them away.

Police also prevented demonstrations near Cairo's historic Al-Azhar mosque.

One Cairo taxi driver says his passengers have been complaining all week about the government's position concerning the Gaza violence. He says the Egyptian government should do more to help the Palestinian struggle. He said if all the Islamic countries united, they would would achieve something. Palestinians should be Palestinians! Not Hamas Palestinians or Fatah Palestinians.

With Israel still continuing air strikes into Gaza, and Hamas sending rockets into Israel, the tension in Egypt isn't likely to simmer down any time soon.

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