Egypt Islamists call for Friday 'Millioneya' on Tahrir Square

Ekram Ibrahim , Thursday 12 Apr 2012

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Front announce joint protest against remnants of ousted regime on 13 April as revolutionary groups boycott event and call for separate demonstration the following Friday

Tahrir Square
File photo 29 july: Islamists's Friday in Tahrir Square (photo: Mai Shaheen)

Egypt's leading Islamist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Front announced Wednesday plans for a mass demonstration in Tahrir Square this Friday under the slogan: "the only demand - together against the remnants of the former regime." Despite non-Islamist revolutionary forces sharing similar demands, many key groups have stated they are boycotting the event and instead call for a Tahrir-based protest the following Friday.

Brotherhood Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein announced Wednesday that Friday's "million-man" demonstration in Cairo's flashpoint square is "intended to protest perceived attempts by Mubarak-era holdovers to derail Egypt's revolution and return the former regime to power."

The official Muslim Brotherhood website, added that the main aim of the demonstration was to "protect the revolution."

A similar statement appeared on the Salafist Front official webpage Wednesday explaining that its decision to take part had been prompted by Egypt's current political stalemate.

The Salafist group said they reject the involvement of presidential candidates associated with the ousted leader's regime such as Mubarak's vice-president Omar Sulieman, ex-foreign minister Amr Moussa and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq "whether they [parliament] decide to pass the disenfranchisement law or not."

Egypt's parliament on Thursday held a special meeting to discuss the draft legislation, which would prohibit major figures in Mubarak's regime from standing in the presidential elections.

In response to the Islamist call to Tahrir, revolutionary groups including April 6 Youth Movement, the Revolutionary Youth Coalition (RYC) and the liberal Tagammu Party have announced their rejection of the 13 Friday protests.

The RYC explained in a press statement Thursday that they refuse to be a part of "a conflict of interest" or political one-upmanship "before the completion of the revolution and the achievement of its goals."

Besides condemning 13 April demonstrations, the RYC declared that the Muslim Brotherhood, should remember the times when they "abandoned the youth and the revolution" saying that now is the time for revolutionary groups to abandon them.

Meanwhile, April 6 called for a "Friday of Determination" a week later on 20 April, in order to unite different forces together over key revolutionary grievances.

The first demand, the movement explained, is the rewriting of Article 28 of the military-authored Constitutional Declaration.

The Article states that the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) is not subject to judicial authority.

This means the body tasked with supervising the elections is not legally obliged to obey any court ruling and is solely responsible for its decisions, including the elimination of presidential candidates.

"This law raises suspicion about the fairness of the presidential elections procedure," April 6 Youth Movement explained in a press statement Thursday.

Demonstrators are also expected to protestagainst the criteria set for choosing the Constituent Assembly, arguing it should be representative of the whole nation and not Parliament's majority alone.

The formation of the assembly, which sees half the seats elected from the Islamist dominated People's Assembly and the Shura Council and half by non-parliamentarians, has been questioned in a recent court case.

Several prominent lawyers successfully challenged the process of forming the assembly tasked with authoring Egypt's constitution, arguing that parliamentarians cannot elect themselves according to a 1994 SCC ruling.

The third demand for Friday's protest is that remnants of the old regime should be prevented from running for presidency.

The final demand calls for revolutionary presidential hopefuls to unite together in order to successfully pursue key revolutionary demands.

The last major Islamist demonstration on Tahrir Square was in July 2011, when hundreds of thousands of members of theMuslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Front flocked to downtown Cairo. Waving the flag of Saudi Arabia, aattendees chantedslogans demanding the implementation of Islamic rule in Egypt. 

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