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'I'm not ruling out violence on 30 June,' says prominent Islamist lawyer

Lawyer of Egypt's Gamaa Islamiya, Montasser El-Zayat, says upcoming opposition protests could turn violent if the public turnout is small

Ahram Online, Saturday 8 Jun 2013
Monasser Zayat
Montasser El-Zayat (Photo: Facebook page)
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Well-known Islamist lawyer Montasser El-Zayat said Saturday that he does not rule out the possibility of violence during the upcoming anti-Morsi protests scheduled for 30 June, amid rumours that President Mohamed Morsi's Islamist supporters might stage a counter-demonstration on the same day.

"Some secular youth have weapons and some Islamists have weapons as well. If protests were not massive in numbers the cycle of violence will be repeated," El-Zayat, a well-known lawyer for Islamist groups in Egypt, said on his Facebook account Saturday.

Upon a recently-emerging petition campaign, dubbed "Rebel," to withdraw confidence from the president, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, opposition groups have scheduled protests for 30 June, the first anniversary of Morsi's accession to power.

Organisers of the Rebel campaign earlier announced that they hoped to collect 15 million signatures and hold a mass sit-in 30 June. The campaign is calling for snap elections and forcing Morsi out of office.

Meanwhile, there have been on-and-off rumours about Islamists staging counter-protests on the same day. No official confirmation or denial from Islamist parties has yet been given.

"I do not imagine that any president who could replace Morsi ... He will last in office," El-Zayat commented. "If the Muslim Brotherhood, which has the most solid organisation, fails to preserve a regime that represents it, then I cannot foresee anyone else staying as president after Morsi, for he will lack organised support."

Egypt witnessed a spate of violent anti-government protests in several governorates on the second anniversary of the 25 January uprising, lasting for several weeks.

Organisers of the Rebel campaign announced last week they have gathered over seven million signatures so far.

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