Egypt's Rebel movement proposes arms-free protests initiative

Ayat Al-Tawy, Sunday 28 Jul 2013

The youth protest movement proposes initiative to ensure weaponless demonstration sites in wake of deadly Saturday violence

Cairo clashes
Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi carry an injured man to a field hospital following clashes with security forces at Nasr City, where pro-Morsi protesters have held a weekslong sit-in, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, July 27, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Egypt's youth Rebel (Tamarod) campaign has put forward a fresh initiative to ensure arms-free protests in Egypt after dozens were gunned down in deadly clashes between security forces and loyalists of the country's toppled Islamist leader.

The mammoth movement, which was the driving force behind the 30 June mass protests which culminated in the overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi, has yet to officially announce the initiative.

Co-founder Mahmoud Badr proposes – via Twitter – visits by a joint delegation of prosecutors, rights campaigners and Arab League members to protest camps for inspection. According to Badr, the delegates must hold arrest power in case arms or suspects of violence are identified.

Badr said the move is designed as a means of "rejecting the arming of [protest] squares and restoring the value of peaceful sit-ins."

Saturday's violence has plunged Egypt into deeper turmoil, laying bare widening polarisation between rival factions for and against the army's popularly-backed overthrow of Morsi.

Egypt's interior ministry Mohamed Ibrahim denied police opened fire at the protesters, with his spokesman accusing the deposed president's supporters of using firearms and birdshot against local residents and police in the north Cairo clashes. 

Badr went on to note that he expects anti-Morsi protesters to welcome the move.  If the president's loyalists refuse, "the whole world would be a witness to their rejection of peacefulness," Badr said.

The incident – the bloodiest since Morsi's exit – has provoked alarm in the west, with the US and the EU condemning the bloodshed and urging peaceful management of demonstrations. At least 72 were killed and hundreds of others wounded in the violence, according to the Ministry of Health.

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