Police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi during clashes that erupted on Saturday as he launched development projects in southern Egyptian where residents have long complained of being neglected by the central government.
Morsi was in Sohag province to unveil a housing project and new education complex when thousands of anti-government protesters tried to storm the hall where he was meeting with local officials. The rioting came as Morsi was trying to reach out to residents of Sohag, one of Egypt's poorest southern cities.
Under long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular uprising two years ago, the southern area known as al-Saeed was underdeveloped and impoverished. Businessmen close to Mubarak's family were blamed for orchestrating economic reform that liberalized the economy, but left the country's poor hard-pressed to reap the benefits of economic growth.
Morsi sought to assure residents there that the era of corruption, deprivation and neglect had ended.
In one of the country's high-profile corruption cases, former Tourism Minister Zuheir Garana and ex-Housing Minister Ahmed Maghrabi were found not guilty Saturday in a case involving the sale of state land for cut-rate prices in the country's prized resort areas along the Red Sea. (Edmonton jurnal)