Egyptian riot police fired volleys of tear gas and locked down Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday as clashes broke out in a rare push by Islamist supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to take control of the iconic site. At least four people were killed.
Troops sealed off the square with armored vehicles and barbed wire after the Muslim Brotherhood called on its supporters to march there. Thousands of other Morsi supporters followed suit from various parts of the city, chanting, “Al-Sissi is the enemy of God” and “Down with the murderer!”
Those were references to Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, who forced Morsi from power on July 3 after millions took to the streets demanding that the Islamist leader quit.
Since then, nearly 2,000 Muslim Brotherhood members have been arrested, the group’s top leaders have been referred to courts on charges of inciting murder and violence, and hundreds of Morsi supporters have been killed. Morsi has been detained incommunicado.
On Friday, authorities arrested Ahmed Soubaei, a spokesman for the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political arm, the group said on its Web site.
— Associated Press
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement Friday that it had received additional information from the Syrian government about the nation’s chemical weapons program, although spokesman Michael Luhan said by telephone that he could offer no additional details about the disclosures.
A team of 19 chemical weapons inspectors from the OPCW arrived in Damascus on Tuesday to begin work destroying the weapons that Syria has declared. Shortly before the team departed from its headquarters in The Hague, officials there said that the Syrian government had generally been cooperative and “businesslike” in tallying its chemical weapons facilities.
They also said, however, that the initial disclosure on Sept. 21 was not fully up to the standard of the Chemical Weapons Convention and added that they planned to work with Syrian officials to bring it up to the levels of precision required by the treaty.
Separately Friday, al-Qaeda militants battled fighters linked to the Western-backed opposition, as well as Kurdish gunmen, in Syrian towns along the Turkish border, in clashes that killed at least 19 people, activists said.
— Michael Birnbaum
and Associated Press
Netherlands seeks release of Greenpeace ship, activists: Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said he intends to file suit at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, based in Hamburg, Germany, to recover the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, which the Russian government seized last month after activists for the environmental group protested at an oil platform in the Arctic Ocean. Timmermans said he would also try to obtain the release of the ship’s 30 occupants, charged with piracy by Russia, via diplomatic channels.
Italian Senate panel says Berlusconi should lose seat: Silvio Berlusconi’s future in Italian
politics is hanging in the balance after a Senate panel voted to recommend expelling the former prime minister from the upper house, following an August tax-fraud conviction. The panel’s recommendation will be put before the full Senate for a final vote in the next few weeks.
Pakistan’s Malala wins rights award: The Pakistani schoolgirl and education activists who survived a Taliban assassination attempt has won an award named for a murdered Russian journalist. Malala Yousafzai, 16, who was shot last October, was declared winner of the Anna Politkovskaya Award, which is given annually by the group RAW in WAR to a female human rights defender.
Afghanistan caps cricket comeback: War-weary Afghanistan achieved a sports breakthrough by qualifying for its first Cricket World Cup with a win over Kenya in the last match of the World Cricket League Championship. For Afghanistan to qualify for a World Cup is remarkable progress for a country that has only a handful of turf fields and where most of the national team grew up playing cricket in refugee camps in Pakistan.
Bus in deadly plunge in Mexico: At least 12 people were killed and many more injured Friday morning when a passenger bus overturned on a highway west of the Mexican capital and fell into a ravine, according to government and media reports. The accident occurred on a highway linking the Mexico City suburb of Naucalpan with the city of Toluca.
— From news services