Egyptian Islamist figures slam protests at presidential palace

Zeinab El Gundy, Wednesday 5 Dec 2012

Islamist spokesmen denounce Tuesday protests outside Egypt's presidential palace, saying rallies consist of 'small groups with no political weight'

 Islamist figures
(Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Essam El-Arian, deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), slammed protesters taking part in Tuesday's demonstrations in statements to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website.

"These are the people who reject the results of the March 2011 referendum and who want to overthrow the president in order to establish a presidential council," El-Arian said. He added that the protesters were "from the elite class, faraway from the street," stressing that "the final word would be with the Egyptian people."

Secretary-General of the Muslim Brotherhood's guidance bureau Mahmoud Hussein told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website that the protesters consisted of "small groups with no political weight whatsoever and whose numbers do not exceed 2,000 protesters."

Hussein stressed that all Egyptians enjoyed the right to peaceful protest, but asserted that certain elements of the opposition were insistent on using violent means – including attacks on security forces – to express their opinions.

From Port Said, former FJP MP and leading Brotherhood member Akram El-Shaer also criticised protests in Port Said on Tuesday. "They are only about 75 protesters," El-Shaer said in televised comments.

According to news reports, however, a couple of thousand people protested in Port Said near the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood and even torched effigies depicting the Brotherhood's supreme guide and President Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood's guidance bureau reportedly held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the impact of Tuesday's rallies, according to news reports.

The Nour Party, for its part, expressed its complete rejection of the clashes that were reported between protesters and security forces at the presidential palace. "Firing tear gas grenades at protesters in front of the presidential palace should stop; the crisis should be resolved peacefully," the party declared via Twitter.

Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya and its Building and Development Party warned against perceived attempts by "revolutionary" powers to drag the country into violence through angry rallies at the presidential palace and through clashes with security forces, according to the party's media advisor, Khaled Sherif.

Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya's Assam Abdel-Maged also slammed the protesters at the presidential palace, accusing them of attempting to bring down not to only the president but also the Egyptian state.

"Rallying outside the presidential palace never happened before in the past 30 years, why would it happen now after the revolution?" Abdel-Maged asked in statements to the Moheet website. He added that the alliance of liberal and leftist powers in Egypt aimed to bring down Sharia and legitimacy.

Meanwhile, Egypt's Coalition of Islamist Powers issued a statement late Tuesday declaring its full support for President Morsi and calling on the president to put an end to what it described as "a violation" in order to maintain Egypt's stability.

"The Islamist Powers Coalition has followed what happened at the presidential palace and denounces the shameful practices there, declaring to all Egyptians that these violations of the right to expression are an insult to Egypt," the statement read.

The Islamist Powers Coalition includes the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party, the Salafist Calling and its Nour Party, Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya and its Building and Development Party, the Salafist Front and the Salafist Asala Party. 

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