Egypt's 6 April Youth Group has joined the recently launched 'Rebel Movement' campaign, which aims to collect citizens' signatures for a petition calling for a vote of no-confidence in the administration of President Mohamed Morsi.
Khaled El-Masry, 6 April spokesman, stated on Sunday that the new signature drive represented a "peaceful, forward-thinking and democratic means by which to oppose the current regime and reveal the extent of its [declining] popularity among the Egyptian public."
According to organisers, the campaign is currently active in 19 out of Egypt's 27 governorates and in nine foreign countries.
The signature drive brings together several ideological currents, "except those seen as remnants of the former regime," explained Eslam Hammam, head of the campaign's central committee. He asserted that the initiative also included a number of Salafist and Sufi members.
Hammam clarified, however, that, while the campaign brought together members of diverse groups such as 6 April and the Kefaya movement, it nevertheless represented an "independent" initiative.
The decision by 6 April to join the signature drive came following the brief arrest of movement co-founder Ahmed Maher, who was released from detention – pending investigation – on Saturday.
Maher was detained by authorities on Saturday at the Cairo International Airport upon his arrival from Austria en route from the United States. He has been charged with inciting protests outside the interior minister's Cairo residence in March.
After his release the following day, Maher said: "What is taking place now is worse than what was experienced during Mubarak's time."
At a Sunday afternoon press conference, a Rebel Movement spokesman stated that a total of 2 million signatures had already been collected. In Cairo alone, he said, 800,000 signatures had been collected, while another 10,000 had been gathered in the Suez governorate.
By 30 June, he added, which will mark one year since Morsi's assumption of the presidency, campaign organisers hope to have collected a total of 15 million signatures.
"We have important indications that show the extent of the decline of the Morsi administration's popularity," Hammam asserted.
Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, for his part, told Ahram Online that the campaign was illegal, "since the hijacking of political [democratic] legitimacy constitutes a violation of the law."
He stressed that Morsi was democratically chosen by the Egyptian popular will, going on to suggest that the signature drive was a sign of "political bankruptcy" on the part of Egypt's anti-Morsi opposition.
Hammam responded to these assertions by saying: "It is Morsi, and his controversial constitutional decree, who has violated all legitimacy and constitutionality."
He was referring to Morsi's November 2012 constitutional decree, which temporarily immunised the president's decisions from judicial challenge; shielded the Shura Council (the upper house of Egypt's parliament) and Constituent Assembly (which drafted Egypt's new constitution) from dissolution by court order; and dismissed Mubarak-appointed prosecutor-general Abdel Meguid Mahmoud and replaced him with current prosecutor-general Talaat Ibrahim.