Egypt political groups condemn Brotherhood, foreign intervention

Ahram Online , Saturday 17 Aug 2013

Political groups deem the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for present chaos in Egypt amid calls to ban the organisation

Tamarod spokesman Hassan Shahin (Photo: Ahram)

As violence continues in Egypt following the dispersal of sit-ins by supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, several groups in Egypt hold the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for the chaos, while others protest what they describe as foreign intervention.

Following the dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-ins, Islamists vowed to continue demonstrating every day. Meanwhile, the country remains in a state of chaos as violence erupted nationwide with protests quickly developing into clashes with opponents or security forces. Police stations, government buildings and churches have also come under attack.

Over 600 people were killed and thousands injured when the police dispersed two major protest camps of pro-Morsi demonstrators in Cairo. Police authorities also reported that 43 policemen were killed. Thousands of Morsi supporters, mainly Islamist groups led by the Muslim Brotherhood, had been camped out for over six weeks calling for Morsi’s reinstatement after he was deposed as president 3 July amid mass protests against him.

Masr El-Horreya (Egypt Freedom) Party, led by political analyst Amr Hamzawy, has condemned the Brotherhood for “spreading chaos and terror nationwide,” through “including armed people in marches, cutting-off roads and attacking police stations and churches.”

The party called in a statement Saturday for a halt to “escalation on the street and using violence,” adding it hopes a political path, though difficult, will open a way out of the crisis.   

Filmed footage of men in a pro-Morsi march using weapons circulated widely Friday. There were also eyewitness accounts and footage shown on state television of armed men in the pro-Morsi sit-ins dispersed Wednesday.

On Friday, Egypt’s Cabinet urged people to hold firm against attempts by "terrorist elements” belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood to spark polarisation in the country.

Meanwhile, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party called for dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood, confiscating its funds and banning it as a “terrorist group.”

The party also underlined that it is the state’s role to “implement popular will for putting an end to terrorism and the security vacuum.”

On 26 July, millions of Egyptians thronged the streets to heed a call by army chief General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi for a popular "mandate" to the army and police to confront terrorism and violence.

The Socialist Popular Alliance Party also condemned violence against churches, asserting that the police and army are responsible for ensuring their security.

For its part, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church asserted that it “strongly stands by the Egyptian police and armed forces against violent militant groups” that attack state institutions, churches and terrorise “Coptic and Muslim citizens.” It added that such behaviour is contrary to all religions and human values.

It also said in a statement Friday that it stands against all “attempts to drag Egypt into sectarian strife.”

More than 32 churches have been burned or looted in ongoing violence since the dispersal of pro-Morsi camps Wednesday, with many Christian-owned properties also targeted. A large number of the attacks were in Minya, a region with a history of sectarian tension.

The Coptic Church added that it rejects foreign intervention in Egyptian affairs, calling on foreign media to “fairly report the facts” and not give “political cover for terrorist groups.”

International reactions

Many states in the international community condemned the violence in Egypt in the wake of Wednesday’s police crackdown.

On Thursday, the United States said it will review aid to Egypt "in all forms" after US President Barack Obama cancelled joint military exercises with Egypt next month in response to the bloody clampdown by Egyptian security forces.

Obama urged Egypt's army-installed authorities to lift the imposed state of emergency and allow peaceful protests, but stopped short of suspending $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

Denmark announced on the same day it has suspended development aid to Egypt.

The German government also announced it was suspending 25 million Euros in aid to Egypt for climate and environmental protection projects.

The UN Security Council, meanwhile, urged Thursday all parties in Egypt to end the violence and exercise maximum restraint after the 15-member council met in an emergency session on the Egypt situation.

Before the sit-in dispersals, a number of US and other foreign envoys were on the ground in Egypt in order to mediate a political solution to the crisis. Shortly after their departure, the Egyptian presidency announced the “failure” of these diplomatic efforts.

Tamarod (Rebel) Movement, which spearheaded calls to oust then-president Mohamed Morsi, launched Friday a “Stop the Aid” campaign in protest at what it said was “clear and exceeding” US intervention in Egypt’s domestic politics.

The campaign aims to collect signatures from Egyptian citizens in support of refusing US aid to Egypt, and ending the Camp David peace treaty with Israel.

Tamarod spokesman Hassan Shahin said that Egypt should look more to Arab countries instead of the “US, the West and the UN Security Council,” adding that Egypt should cooperate with those who “respect popular will and Egyptian sovereignty.”

Saudi King Abdullah called on Arabs Friday to stand together against "attempts to destabilise" Egypt, in a message of support for the military leadership and an attack on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi Arabia’s top religious cleric called on Egyptians to refrain from attacking police "as they are the ones who protect the country." The online Saudi newspaper Riyadh also quoted Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheikh, who holds the rank of Cabinet minister, as saying that it would be "a great loss for the Muslim nation if Egypt, the large Islamic country, is destroyed."

Jordan said Friday it backs Egypt's efforts to "impose the rule of law" and "combat terrorism" in its first official reaction to the deadly crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The UAE foreign ministry, meanwhile, affirmed its "understanding of the sovereign measures taken by the Egyptian government after it had practised maximum self-restraint during the preceding period." It criticised what it said was the "insistence of political extremism groups to make speeches of violence and incitement ... that led to (Wednesday's) sad events."

Bahrain said that the "measures taken by Egyptian authorities to restore peace and stability were to protect the rights of the Egyptian citizen, which the state is obliged to do."

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