Egypt set for Friday mass rallies in support of anti-Morsi petition

Ahram Online, Thursday 16 May 2013

Several political forces announce plans for a million-strong rally in Tahrir Square Friday amid renewed calls for early presidential elections

File photo: Egyptian President Mohammed Morsiís supporters, background, clash with opponents, foreground, outside the presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt Dec. 5, 2012 (Photo: AP)

Several Egyptian political forces have called for a series of protests in support of an anti-Morsi petition drive — Tamarod, or 'Rebel' campaign — to kick off Friday.

A million-man rally is scheduled for Friday with the aim of decrying the imprisonment of political activists and pressing for early presidential polls.

The signature-collecting movement, which aims to gather 15 million signatures in support of a vote of no-confidence in President Mohamed Morsi, is planned to conclude with a million-strong rally outside the Presidential Place in Cairo's Heliopolis district on 30 June to demand snap presidential elections.

A number of marches will set out for Tahrir Square in the day. Meeting points include the Journalists' Syndicate in downtown Cairo, Mohandeseen district's Mostafa Mahmoud Square, Dawaran Shubra Square in Cairo's Shubra district as well as central Cairo's Sayeda Zeinab Mosque, Al-Ahram daily newspaper reportedThursday.

A handful of political parties and movements announced plans to partake in the planned rallies. These include the Constitution Party, the Free Front for Peaceful Change and the Free Egyptians Party.

Ahmed Harawy, member of the April 6 Youth Movement that recently voiced support with the initiative, told Ahram Online the group would actively provide volunteers for the signature-collecting process over the coming two weeks, but would not officially take part in the protests. The signature drive, which officially started 1 May, has so far collected over two million signatures. 

Members of the Constitution Party will also volunteer in the signature collecting process and some plan to partake in the planned anti-government demo, Constitution Party member Alfred Raouf told Ahram Online Thursday.

Asked about the efficacy of the campaign, Raouf said: "We will prove to the regime that it has lost its legitimacy and wil give hope to the people once again."

"Such pressure might finally lead us to early presidential elections," he added.

Egypt's opposition has voiced mounting discontent with the Islamist government, accusing it of smothering dissent and attempting to monopolise the country's state institutions.

Meanwhile, Yasser Hamza, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, slammed the planned protests.

In televised comments Wednesday, Hamza claimed Friday's rallies would send the world a negative image of Egypt by suggesting continuing political and economic instability.

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