Yousry Hammad, deputy head of the Salafist Al-Watan Party, announced Saturday that his party will not be taking part in any rallies in support of President Mohamed Morsi in the coming days, to avoid being dragged into violence.
Hammad further denounced on his Facebook page the violence that took place Friday, claiming that it was been carried by “unknown elements” who are attempting to frame other groups.
He also said that a number of motorcycles were roaming around Alexandria late night, accusing some of the drivers of holding swords and bats while saying that “the mission is done.”
Friday witnessed clashes in several governorates between supporters and opponents of President Morsi. The day also witnessed the killing of three in Alexandria, including one American, in addition to attack on several headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party.
Cairo witnessed a relatively peaceful mass protest by hundreds of thousands of Islamist sympathisers at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Moque in Nasr City in support of the president, while tens of thousands of opposition protesters marched to iconic Tahrir Square demanding early presidential elections.
On Friday afternoon, Islamists protesting at Rabaa Al-Adawyia announced the start of an open-ended sit-in.
Al-Watan Party head Emad Abdel-Ghafour asserted during a press conference Saturday that his party is still calling for complete societal consensus.
Last Wednesday, Al-Watan spearheaded a new national reconciliation initiative aimed at reuniting polarised political forces before mass protests against Morsi 30 June — an attempt to tackle the country's “worsening economic and social malaise.”
Abdel-Ghafour, who is also Morsi’s consultant for "social communication," further called on Egyptians to refrain from participating in any protests, to expose “the subversive elements” that aim to kill.
Al-Watan, a close ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, is one of the founders of the National Alliance for Legitimacy Support, which was launched Thursday by 11 Islamist political parties to protect what they call “the Egyptian people’s democratic gains.”