Egypt's NSF calls for mass rally in solidarity with summoned activists

Sherif Tarek , Wednesday 27 Mar 2013

Main opposition group holds President Mohamed Morsi culpable for 'divisions' and 'bloodshed' in Egypt, accusing him of fascism in fierce attack

Osama Al Ghazali Harb
Members of Egypt's opposition coalition Osama Al Ghazali Harb (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's main opposition group, the National Salvation Front (NSF), has called for a mass rally on Friday in solidarity with five anti-government activists who have been summoned by the prosecutor-general on charges related to violent clashes.

The call was made on Wednesday during a press conference that saw two of the NSF’s leading figures, Osama El-Gazaly Harb and Hussein Abdel-Ghani, lambast President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In fiery statements, both men described Morsi and the Brotherhood as "fascists." Many opposition figures argue that the Islamic group is the de facto ruler of the country and Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood, is not independent as he claims.

Prosecutor-general Talaat Abdullah, who was appointed by Morsi in November, was referred to as the "prosecutor private" in the press conference, a widespread sarcastic appellation by critics who believe Abdullah favours Morsi and the Brotherhood in his decisions.

"In his recent speech, Morsi threatened to arrest the opposition…The summons of activists instigated by the prosecutor-general came as an immediate translation of his threats which serves the Brotherhood agenda," Harb said. "We reject that Morsi is using the prosecution to settle political scores."

Harb has called for a mass protest on 29 March at the High Court in Cairo, which saw similar demonstrations on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Egypt's appeal court overturned Morsi’s November 2012 decision to appoint Abdullah in place of previous prosecutor-general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud. 

The opposition activists who were summoned on Monday are renowned blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Popular Current member Ahmed Doma, National Salvation Front member Hazem Abdel-Azim, Constitution Party member Ahmed El-Ghoneimi, and member of the Revolutionary Front for Peaceful Change Karim El-Shaer.

Only Abdel-Fattah responded to the summons, and was released after being questioned. The other four refused to attend. 

The activists were summoned over alleged incitement of clashes at the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters on Friday.

The clashes were preceded by other confrontations in which anti-Brotherhood activists, including Doma and a female activist, were assaulted by guards of the group, as a viral video shows. Harb blamed Morsi for all the bloodshed, "and for all the turmoil that resulted from his decisions."

Abdel-Ghani echoed the same sentiments, saying that Morsi has "widen the divisions between Egyptians and incited violence against media personnel in his recent speech," amid an ongoing siege by Islamist protesters at Media Production City, a media complex where many private television channels are based, which saw some television figures assaulted.

"The Brotherhood has showed their true ugly face," Abdel-Ghani added. "But we will not be intimidated by threats…We will stand by the wanted activists. The prosecutor-general ignored reports of the assault on Doma and the female activist, but responded to that on the Brotherhood."

"Egyptians have made it clear that they do not want this regime. Also, 14,000 of the residents of Mokattam [the district where the Brotherhood's main headquarters is situated] have signed a petition calling for the Brotherhood to relocate their headquarters, because they don't want them there."

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