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Morsi supporters show weak mobilisation amid calls for solution to Egypt crisis

Egypt political and religious figures condemn 'terrorism' as international community calls for end to violence from all sides

Ahram Online , Tuesday 20 Aug 2013
Security forces arrest pro-Morsi protesters (Photo by Mai Shaheen)

Pro-Morsi demonstrations held in several parts of Egypt saw low turnout, hundreds in numbers, in comparison to protests on the day dubbed ‘Friday of Rage.’

Morsi supporters heeded calls by the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy after a week long crackdown by security forces against supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and as Muslim Brotherhood figures continue to face arrests and detention orders.

Since Wednesday, security has carried out mass arrests of pro-Morsi demonstrators.

Security forces on Wednesday cracked-down on two main pro-Morsi sit-ins that led to more than 600 deaths and thousands injuries in violent clashes nationwide.

The interior ministry announced on Saturday that 1,004 were arrested so far. It also announced that illegal weapons had been confiscated.

The arrests come in addition to those targeting several Muslim Brotherhood figures earlier this month including the organisation’s strongman Khairat El-Shater and head of its political wing Saad El-Katatni. 

Egyptian prosecution on Monday ordered the detention of Morsi for another 15 days pending investigations into charges of involvement in the violent attacks on demonstrators outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Cabinet, Grand Mufti as well as the National Salvation Front (NSF) on Monday reiterated warnings against violence.

The statements come hours after militants killed 25 army conscripts in North Sinai early on Monday.

A photo of the victims circulating online showed them in plain clothes, lined beside each other on the side of the road, their hands tied behind their backs and blood beneath them.

The military announced Sinai a "closed military area" as a result of the attack, which was the most violent act witnessed in the already lawless area since the January 25 revolution in 2011.

In a statement released on Monday, the Cabinet explaining that militants fired rockets at two Central Security Forces (CSF) vehicles in the Abu Taweila area near the Rafah Road in Al-Arish city, North Sinai and extended its condolences to the families of the victims.

The National Salvation Front said that both the country and its people are facing attacks from what it described as "organised terrorist groups" and said the attacks that occurred on army conscripts in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula are part of these terrorist organisations’ operation.

“Egypt is facing violence and attempts to overthrow the state by the Muslim Brotherhood. Both the state with all its institutions along with its people are facing one enemy and that is terrorism,” the NSF statement read.

Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawki Allam condemned "terrorism and violence in all its forms," the “use of weapons in demonstrations.” He also deplored the "destruction" and violations committed against religious buildings, in reference to a flurry of torching dozens of churches in several parts of the country in recent days.

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim described the Sinai attack as a retaliation to "the steps taken by the state against terrorism" adding that Egypt has entered a "war against terrorism."

On the other hand, the situation in Egypt continues to attract international concern.

European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Bernardino Leon emphasised the EU's preference towards political solutions and excluded the idea of sanctions.

Several countries including Denmark and Germany had cut aid to Egypt earlier last week after security’s crackdown on protesters.

“The [Egyptian] government has a special responsibility but the violence has been from both sides,” Leon said at a press briefing adding that the EU has announced its clear stance against recent attacks on Coptic churches and government buildings.

A UN statement released the same day said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was alarmed by ongoing developments in Egypt and “the widespread outbreak of violent protests and excessive use of force in handling them.”

“With such sharp polarisation in Egyptian society, both the authorities and the political leaders share the responsibility for ending the current violence,” the UN statement read.

Amnesty International Monday denounced the "utter carnage" in Egypt, after clashes between security forces and pro-Morsi demonstrators killed hundreds across the country in the past week.

The London-based rights group said the international community's response to the political crisis in Egypt, where the clashes between Islamist protesters and security forces left more than 800 people dead since August 14, was "weak and ineffective."

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