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Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Egypt army ultimatum hailed by opposition, sparks Islamist protests

Opposition forces hail army's 48-hour ultimatum to presidency; embattled Islamist forces step up pro-Morsi protests, decry perceived 'coup'

Ahram Online, Tuesday 2 Jul 2013
Anti-Morsi protester climbs on top of an electric pole to take a look at military helicopters flying over Al-Itihadiya presidential palace during a protest demanding Mursi to resign in Cairo July 1 (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 7681

The military's 48-hour ultimatum to Egypt's rival political camps was condemned by supporters of embattled President Mohamed Morsi, who on late Monday night stepped up their protests and marches in support of Morsi's democratic legitimacy and against a perceived military coup.

Ongoing anti-Morsi demonstrations, meanwhile, generally welcomed the army's announcement, which many protesters saw as another step towards the realisation of their demands for the president's ouster.  

Following the military's televised statement on Monday afternoon giving Egyptian political forces 48 hours to "meet the people's demands" – or be presented with a military-imposed "roadmap" for the country's political future –an army spokesman clarified that the statement was not intended to suggest a military coup, but was merely aimed at fostering reconciliation between the two camps.  

Nonetheless, the newly-formed National Coalition for Legitimacy, led by the Muslim Brotherhood group (from whose ranks Morsi hails), denounced the military's statement on Monday night, stressing its "rejection of any attempt to turn the army against [democratic] legitimacy."

Islamists step up protests; Nour backs opposition

On Monday night, hours after the armed forces' statement, tens of thousands of Morsi supporters staged marches in several governorates in support of the president and against a perceived military coup.

As of 10pm, tens of thousands had taken to the streets for several pro-Morsi rallies in and outside the capital, while protesters at the main Islamist sit-in in Cairo's Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square – hundreds of thousands strong – continued to demonstrate for the fourth consecutive day.  

In Suez, violent clashes reportedly erupted between Morsi's supporters and opponents, Reuters reported, citing eyewitnesses.

Meanwhile, Egypt's Salafist Nour Party, which had earlier taken a neutral stance vis-à-vis the rival demonstrations, broke from the Islamist camp late Monday night by announcing its support for opposition demands for snap presidential polls.

Anti-Morsi camp hails military statement, activists concerned

Upon hearing the army's statement on Monday afternoon, anti-Morsi protesters arrayed in Tahrir Square and outside the presidential palace, along with those in the governorates, cheered in celebration. Army helicopters hovered over Tahrir Square, throwing flags on the crowds below as they did the day before.

Outside the presidential palace, Ashraf Youssef, a middle-aged protester who works as a construction subcontractor, told Ahram Online that he supports the decision by the 'Rebel' campaign – an anti-Morsi signature drive – to give Morsi until 5pm Tuesday to respond to its demands.

He voiced fear that the Brotherhood would seek to employ violence as a pressure tactic during the 48-hour period set by the military. "The army statement gives the Muslim Brotherhood too much time to create chaos," he said.

Mahmoud Eissa, an anti-Morsi protester in Alexandria's district of Sidi Gaber, told Ahram Online that the army's statement made him "very happy."

"Morsi and his group have to leave; it is too late for any other concessions," he added.

For her part, a protester told Ahram Online she was happy with the statement as it would force President Morsi to make political concessions.

"We don't want to keep changing presidents," she said. "But now he will have to form a new government and give the people what they want."

In the Nile Delta city of Gharbiya, meanwhile, protesters cheered and raised Egyptian flags chanting, "We are with you, [Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah] El-Sisi," "The people and army are one hand" and "Down with Morsi," according to state news agency MENA.

On the streets of Gharbiya, people went out in motorbikes and cars, honking in celebration.

Many activists who frequent the squares, however, expressed dismay over the military's possible re-entry into Egyptian domestic politics.

Their concerns stem from the year and a half of military rule following Egypt's January 2011 revolution, which saw frequent clashes between protesters and army forces.

Opposition welcomes armed forces statement

The political opposition welcomed the army's statement, viewing it as a sign that the army had sided with demands for early presidential elections.

“The statement is telling President Mohamed Morsi to resign,” said Mahmoud Badr, spokesman of the anti-Morsi ‘Rebel’ campaign, which claims to have gathered 22 million signatures calling on the president to step down, and which was a key coordinator of the weekend’s massive anti-Morsi protests.

Badr added in a statement published on the campaign’s official Facebook page that “the army’s historic role is to take the side of the people.”Founding member of the opposition National Salvation Front umbrella group and ex-presidential candidate Amr Moussa called the statement "a historical opportunity that shouldn't be wasted."

For his part, Ahmed Fawzy, secretary-general of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, told Ahram Online that the opposition would not accept any concessions.

"Any cabinet reshuffle, change of prosecutor-general, or any decision by President Morsi other than his resignation is unacceptable," Fawzy claimed.

Fawzy refuted the possibility of the army's return to domestic politics, saying it had learnt its lesson during Egypt's post-revolution transitional phase.

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Abd Elrahman
02-07-2013 04:21pm
Egypt For Ever
Do you know what will happen in Egypt if there is an army coup on President Morsy? A new Syria , do you think those milion of Morsy's supporter will do nothing? You're totally wrong. We all know that unfortunately the heads of the Army are corrupted. Do you think that all Egyptian problems can be resolved in one year? So , why are you saying that mr.Morsy failed?How could he resolve these problems? I mean , Egypt has problems from A to Z, social problems, economic problems, safety problems etc. etc. I'm one of the Egyptian who says NO to a military government! No to "Folool" return! If doctor Morst does not take decisive decisions against opposition who rents criminals and incite violence. Our beloved Egypt will end
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02-07-2013 07:02pm
Long live morsi
The Egyptian defecit reduced to $2billion from 11billion. That's great achievement considering his hands and legs been tied ever since day one. Unfortunately media does not report this. Islamist are getting fed up with felool and cartoon groups. Syria might be the answer

02-07-2013 03:10pm
Everything is inverted in Egyptian Media
Naguib sawiris gives Interview to CNBC and calling for Morsi to step down claiming he is not legitimate. Wait a miniute...Now everything makes sense... He was slapped with Tax evasion few months ago..comes back from UK and calls the democratically elected president as a dictator and illegitimate all the while sucking upto Mubarak for 30 years. White is Black. War is Peace. Tahrir is not Egypt. The real Egypt is outside of Cairo,Naguib should remember this.
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02-07-2013 12:14pm
Falools will not be governing ever again.
Our military are falools. They have no capability to fight beyond Egyptian borders. In Sinai for them to go they must get permission from Israel a population less than 5% of Egypt's. Shias are minority ruining SYria at the expense of majority. Copts will not be allowed to do that here in Egypt. Yes there is a coup. Islamist are not going to be overrun. They make majority of demonstrators outside Cairo and every village. Morsi will remain.
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02-07-2013 11:07am
What legitimacy?
The Muslim Brotherhood (or Freedom and Justice Party) is NOT legitimate. Using religious slogans and "going to hellfire" as a scare tactic to get people to vote for you, buying votes with empty promises and ludicrous gifts does not count. The good people of Egypt need a good education on what it means to have a free and fair democracy with transparency of electoral process. I don't blame them. We've never had it, and our past leaders never wanted us to have it. Mubarak is laughing now. Laughing i tell you!
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02-07-2013 09:08am
The Muslim Brotherhoods claims about democratic legitimacy is a joke. As usual, brainwashed radical muslims want nothing but their way of life adhered to, which has nothing at all in common with democracy, respect and decency toward fellow human beings.
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