Morsi's supporters plan Friday demos, opponents to hold public gatherings

Ahram Online , Friday 12 Jul 2013

Supporters of ousted president plan mass Friday protests to demand his reinstatement as supporters of Egypt's new transitional government gear up to celebrate his ouster

Supporters of ousted Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, hold his portraits and wave Egyptian flags as they shout slogans during a demonstration after the Iftar prayer in Cairo, Wednesday, (Photo: AP).

Supporters and opponents of ousted president Mohamed Morsi are both planning major events on Friday.

Pro-Morsi protesters camped out en masse in Cairo since the former president's ouster last week plan to stage a large demonstration to demand his reinstatement.

His opponents, meanwhile, are calling for celebrations in support of the uprising/military intervention that unseated him.

A number of political groups have called for a communal Iftar meal on Friday at dusk in Tahrir Square and outside the Ittihadiya presidential palace, both sites of recent mass protests that propelled Morsi out of office with the aid of the military.

The latter event is meant to celebrate the 30 June uprising in which millions of Egyptians took to the streets to demand early presidential elections, prompting the army to oust Morsi on 3 July and impose a political roadmap in coordination with opposition groups.

During the Islamic month of Ramadan, which began on Wednesday, Muslims are required to fast from dawn until dusk. Iftar is the first meal of the day, taking place immediately after sunset. 

Since Egypt's January 2011 revolution, similar events and celebrations have been held in the iconic Tahrir Square, including Ramadan iftars and New Year's festivities. 

Groups calling for the event in Tahrir – including the 30 June Front, the liberal Constitution Party, the leftist Egyptian Popular Current, the Rebel movement and others – have also called for the continuation of demonstrations to ensure that "the will of the people is expressed in the transitional phase so as to correct the path of the 25 January revolution." 

A joint statement by groups calling for the event also called on the Muslim Brotherhood – the group from which Morsi hails – and the group's supporters to "immediately stop inciting violence and terrorism against Egyptians."

The Brotherhood has consistently called on group members to adhere to peaceful methods of protest. The group's opponents, however, accuse Brotherhood figures and allies of asserting that violence would persist until Morsi's reinstatement.

After Morsi's ouster, violence broke out between his supporters and opponents across the nation, resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries.

A confrontation on Monday between military personnel and pro-Morsi demonstrators outside Presidential Guard headquarters in Cairo's Nasr City district saw over 50 of the latter killed.

Military spokesmen later claimed that they had carried out their duty by protecting a military facility.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood and groups allied to it have vowed to maintain their demonstrations in support of the ousted president.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood-led National Alliance to Support Legitimacy released a statement on Wednesday calling for a Friday million-man march in Cairo to demand Morsi's reinstatement.

The alliance, which also includes several allied Islamist groups, went on to reiterate its rejection of last week's "coup against democratic legitimacy," in reference to Morsi's ouster at the hands of Egypt's armed forces.

In its statement, the alliance vowed to continue the struggle against Egypt's new "usurper government" and the "oppressive constitutional declaration" unveiled earlier this week by Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour.

The alliance promised to maintain its demand for Morsi's reinstatement "despite the bloody massacre [at Presidential Guard headquarters], the wave of arrests [of Brotherhood leaders], false accusations [against Islamist figures and groups] and the arbitrary closure of [Islamist] satellite television channels."

Meanwhile, for the last 13 days, pro-Morsi demonstrators have maintained a sizeable sit-in outside the Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City district.

Several marches have also recently been staged across the capital and in a number of provincial governorates to protest Monday's killing of pro-Morsi demonstrators by security forces.

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