Egyptian protesters pummeled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s motorcade with shoes and tomatoes during her first visit since Islamist President Mohamed Mursi was elected.
Perhaps more personally insulting to Clinton, protesters chanted: "Monica, Monica", referring to Former President Bill Clinton's extra-marital affair with a low-level government aid during his presidency. Others chanted: "leave, Clinton", Egyptian security officials said, according to a Reuters report.
A senior state department official said that neither Clinton nor her vehicle were struck by any of the projectiles launched by angry mobs as her convoy neared the port city of Alexandria Sunday.
Making matters worse, nearly all Christian leaders representing Egypt’s 8 million Christians boycotted the meetings that they were invited to attend. It is unclear what group the protesters represent, if any. However hundreds of protesters also staged demonstrations outside Clinton's hotel on Saturday night and chanted anti-Islamist slogans, accusing the United States of backing the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power.
Christian leaders released a statement saying they believe that Clinton is interfering with their country’s internal affairs by politically backing Islamists while largely ignoring Christians.
"I want to be clear that the United States is not in the business, in Egypt, of choosing winners and losers, even if we could, which of course we cannot," Clinton said.
The motorcade assault came Sunday when Clinton spoke at the newly re-opened U.S. consulate in Alexandria. The secretary addressed accusations that the United States was backing one faction or another in Egypt following his ouster last year instead of remaining politically neutral. The U.S. long supported former President Hosni Mubarak before Islamists came to power during Arab Spring.
"The armed forces and the army council respects legislative and executive authorities," said the country’s top general, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, in a speech to troops in the city of Ismailia. "The armed forces would not allow anyone to discourage it from its role in protecting Egypt and its people."
The meeting came a day after she met Mursi, whose powers were neutered by the military a few days before taking office. In retaliation, Mursi reinstating the Islamist-dominated parliament that the army leadership had disbanded after a court declared it void.
The stand-off unfolded before the new leader even had time to form a government and Clinton’s visit did little to defuse the confrontation between military and parliament.