The National Party of Egypt, an offshoot of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's now-defunct National Democratic Party, has announced its intention to take part in a planned demonstration on Friday against Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first freely-elected head of state.
In a Thursday statement, party leader Esmat El-Sadat said that, while he respected the president's democratic legitimacy, the party planned to participate in the Friday demonstration to stress the importance of a civil – i.e., non-religious – state.
"We appreciate President Morsi's legitimacy, but we want him to serve as a president for all Egyptians – not only for the Muslim Brotherhood," El-Sadat was quoted as saying by Egyptian state news agency MENA.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat, Esmat's brother and head of Egypt's Reform and Development Party, announced on Thursday that his party would draw up volunteer groups tasked with protecting public property on the day of the planned demonstration. His party fears that Friday's protest could lead to clashes with the Muslim Brotherhood – from which President Morsi hails – and its supporters.
The self-styled 'Free Front for Peaceful Change,' an Egyptian revolutionary group, announced on Thursday that it would not participate in Friday's protest, despite its "full support" for the freedom of expression and the right to protest.
"The front announces its refusal to participate in the 24 August protest due to the ambiguity surrounding the protest's goals," the group declared. "Nor do we know the other parties and groups involved, which include little-known outfits without political histories."
Former Arab League chief and presidential candidate Amr Moussa, for his part, stated on Thursday: "We should not discuss whether certain groups enjoy the right to stage peaceful protests against the government; rather, we should discuss the state's plan to protect these protesters from violence."
Moussa added: "I believe we should give the president a chance during his first 100 days in office, but I also defend the right of the 24 August protesters to express their views."
Friday's protests are being organised by opponents of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood and elements loyal to the toppled Mubarak regime.