Two buildings of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo were set afire today by Brotherhood supporters. The event is of particular significance because it mutes the Brotherhood's contention that the bombings and terrorist acts of late are being carried out by extremist groups with no ties to the Brotherhood, although the protests are separate from the terrorist acts. The Brotherhood leaders need for protests to remain peaceful if they wish to retain any power, but with a ban just levied against them, there is little to hold supporters back.
The general perception, in those who do not support the Brotherhood, is that such ties do exist and have always existed, especially in light of the nomination by Morsi of an important mayorship to a previous member of a group that carried out the terrorist massacre at Luxor in the 90s shortly before the military coup.
The Brotherhood supporters had been blocking access to other students who sought acess to the facility, and were met with security forces. Tear gas canister were launched, and the supporters started to hurl rocks and overturn cars.
The protests come on the heels of a ban on the Brotherhood, which has just been designated a terrorist group. Although the members of the group insist that they have no ties with extremist groups and their actions, supporters feel they have nothing to lose in their protest since the ban has been put in place. Conversely, opponents of the Brotherhood feel that they are just showing their true intentions.
Al Azhar is a respected and storied Islamic learning center, but that has not saved it from becoming a flashspot in the growing unrest in Cairo.
At least 1500 people have died since Morsi's deposition in the latest military coup. Of those, 350 are believed to be from the armed and security forces.
Partial Source : France 24/ 12.28.13