According to anonymous witnesses police cordoned off the area early on, an act which led to "a growing wave of dissonance" within the assembled crowd. A quarter of an hour into the proceedings, a firebomb was lobbed from somewhere in the crowd into the line of riot police, leaving two dead and thirteen injured.
The police responded by employing stopfoam and sottoblast equipment on the protestors, leading to a fracas which lasted over twenty minutes. Seven protestors were killed, all of them succumbing to sottoblast-induced brain hemorrhages.
The Bloody Hands of Matar, a newly-formed youth rebel group with suspected ties to organized militias in various provinces of the Republic, has claimed responsibility for the firebombing. On their personal feed, the group claims that they "model ourselves on the ideals espoused by our capsuleer kin," and that they are "dedicated to the overthrow of the current government, be it by word or by fist."
The group's logo, a bloody fist, closely resembles that of notorious Matari capsuleer alliance The Ushra'Khan, one of the organizations that has been most vocal in denouncing Midular and her reign. The past week has seen a number of protests springing up in all corners of the Republic, most of them believed to be inspired by the now-notorious February 12th protest held by the Ushra'Khan over Matar, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Karin Midular.
The protest is believed to have set off a wave of anti-governmental sentiment. Says Marek Brandeira, leader of The Bloody Hands, "It didn't really set it off so much as push it forward. I mean, those guys are great and all, but there are a lot of people who have been saying these things for years now. This government is obviously corrupt and needs to go."
"We're grateful for the new manpower, though," he said. "This has definitely helped rally more people to the cause."