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Egypt's opposition decries attack on anti-Morsi Rebel HQ

Opposition figures decry the assault on anti-Morsi petition Rebel Campaign office as a desperate tactic and alarming tendency

Ahram Online, Friday 7 Jun 2013
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Tamarod - Rebel- campaigners (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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Opposition speaks out in alarm over news of the torching of the anti-Morsi Rebel Campaign headquarters on Friday.

"We condemn the torching of the headquarters of a peaceful political campaign who are armed with freedom of expression and democratic demands," former presidential candidate and founding member of the National Salvation Front (NSF; an opposition coalition), Amr Moussa tweeted.

The former head of the Arab League added that he signed the Rebel petition - which aims to collect 15 million signatures to oust President Morsi - and asserts his solidarity with them against any attack.

The campaign’s headquarters in Cairo’s downtown were set on fire in the early hours of Friday by unknown assailants who threw Molotov cocktails at the office.

The NSF issued a statement on Friday afternoon condemning "the criminal assault" charging that whoever attempted to burn the people’s signatures would not likely hesitate to burn the people themselves if they saw an opportunity.

The statement described the assault as an escalation to "the continuous attacks against campaign youth while they collect signatures in some districts."

On 13 May, members of the campaign were assaulted in the Helwan district of Cairo, allegedly by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The NSF, however, asserts that the assault indicates that "the signature is provoking more fear in the Muslim Brotherhood, which pushes foolish behaviour.

"The second indication is their seeking to create a violent atmosphere in a desperate attempt to ruin the rise of peaceful struggle to regain the people’s hijacked revolution," asserting that such assaults will not scare Egyptians.

The Egyptian Popular Current, led by Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi, suspects that the assault is an attempt to ruin the anti-Morsi protest planned for 30 June, the year anniversary of his inauguration into office.

The Rebel Campaign, along with opposition forces, are mobilising for mass anti-Morsi protests on 30 June aiming to cut his four-year term short by gathering 15 million anti-Morsi signatures to outnumber the 13.2 votes that got him into office.

"The presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood has a long record of using their supporters in attacks against peaceful protests, claiming to protect legitimacy," said Constitution Party Spokesman Khaled Daoud, citing as an example the clashes that took place in December in front of the presidential palace after the president's supporters attacked an opposition sit-in.

Secretary general of the Salafist Nour Party, Galal Al-Mura, however, called for people to avoid spreading accusations without legal basis.

The Salafist leader also condemned the attack on the campaign’s headquarter, demanding the culprits be arrested immediately.

The Rebel Campaign, who claim they have been receiving threats of physical harm from Islamist presidential supporters in recent days, sued several Islamist leaders, accusing them of being behind the attack on their headquarters.

The complaint names President Mohamed Morsi; Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie; his deputy Khairat El-Shater; the secretary general of the Freedom and Justice Party; Brotherhood member Ahmed El-Mogheir and a leading member of Gamaa Islamiya, Assem Abdel-Maged.

The Brotherhood has yet to respond to the accusations.

They also accuse the ministry of interior of failing to protect their headquarters.

In an interview with Al-Ahram daily on Thursday, Morsi insisted the Rebel’s initiative for withdrawing confidence from him was neither legal nor constitutional. He further described the notion of early presidential elections as "farcical and illegitimate."

Rebel organisers announced last week that they have collected 7 million petitions since they launched the campaign in early May.

To counter the anti-Morsi Rebel petition, Abdel-Meguid, member of Gamaa Islamiya, along with Islamist powers in the country, launched "Impartiality" a pro-Morsi campaign on 12 May.

On 2 June, the Islamist groups announced that the initiative had managed to collect 2 million signatures supporting President Mohamed Morsi.

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