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Egypt's Islamists protest French intervention in Mali

Dozens of Salafist Calling and Renaissance and Reform Movement members march to French mission in Cairo in protest of 'colonial' move by France to send troops into Mali

Ahram Online, Friday 18 Jan 2013
Protest
One of the protesters outside the French embassy in Giza (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian security forces have bolstered security around the French embassy in Giza Friday, including closing surroundings streets, as dozens arrive for Islamist protest against France's recent military intervention in Mali.

The rally, which was called for by several conservative Islamist groups including prominent preaching group Salafist Calling and the Renaissance and Reform Movement, began after Friday's prayers.

Demonstrators marched from Al-Istiqama Mosque in Giza Square to the French mission, chanting "With our blood and our souls we sacrifce ourselves for Islam" as well as "France take away your dogs, your army is doomed."

France's military operation in the beleaguered West African country, which began Wednesday, has angered several Islamist groups who see it as a colonial move by the European country.

French president Francois Hollande claimed on Tuesday that his troops have no intention of staying in Mali, their own aim is to "eliminate terrorists and regain security."  The decision to begin the operation was taken after rebels, with alleged links to Al-Qaeda, seized the northern half of Mali nine months ago.

"We will not respect nor accept that an occupier lets its army raid countries that are not his," read the statement released by the Salafist Calling, who promised further protests against France.

"The region's nations have started to regain their freedom and whoever stands in the way of the people will lose," the statement added.

On Monday, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi voiced his opposition to military intervention in Mali, adding that "the situation must be dealt with wisely."  

Morsi's statement came during a press conference held at the presidential palace with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy.

A similar protest will take place in Egypt's second city, Alexandria, in front of the French consulate.

Last September, Islamists forces staged a series of mass protests by the American embassy in Cairo to condemn US-made film "The Innocence of Muslims" which mocked Prophet Mohammed.

The ensuing clashes between demonstrators and security forces, left at least 250 protesters and 24 security personnel injured.

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