Muslim Brotherhood plans new protests for tomorrow
Statement vows group will peacefully resist the ‘military coup’ which deposed Morsi
A supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi holds a copy of the Koran during a protest at the Rabaa Adawiya square, where they are camping at, in Cairo today. Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood plans new protests tomorrow as it vowed to peacefully resist the “military coup” that deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, even as authorities sought to arrest its leaders.
“We will continue our peaceful resistance to the bloody military coup,” the Brotherhood said in an e-mailed statement, referring to the ouster of the democratically elected Mr Morsi, whom it backed.
“We are confident that peaceful popular will is going to triumph over aggression and injustice.”
Security forces have arrested a number of Brotherhood officials since the military swept him from power July 3rd on a wave of protests by critics who accused him of leading an Islamist power grab.
Yesterday, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for Mohammed Badie, the group’s top official, and nine other Islamists on grounds they ignited a confrontation in Cairo on July 8th where more than 50 people, most of them Mr Morsi loyalists, were killed in clashes with the army.
Amid the turmoil, the new prime minister, Hazem El-Beblawi, is trying to form a new government that will be asked to revive a crumbling economy and end deep political rifts.
Egyptian bonds gained for a second day, sending yields to the lowest level in five weeks, after $12 billion of aid pledges poured in from the Persian Gulf. Egypt’s default risk fell to the lowest in more than a month.
Mr El-Beblawi said that while he’s talking to a variety of political groups, it will be difficult to secure the backing of all Egyptians, the state-run Al-Ahram reported today.
“Everybody is requested to join this political process,” Mr Badr Abdelatty, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters today.
Those involved in violence are being dealt with “within the existing judiciary system, nothing more, nothing less, nothing extraordinary,” he said.
Complicating Mr El-Beblawi’s task is the Brotherhood’s refusal to participate in talks. The group rejects the opposition’s argument that the military intervened in response to mass protests fueled by complaints that Mr Morsi hijacked democratic process to try to impose an Islamist agenda and monopolize power.
“We’re not going to take part in an illegitimate process, or in talks held over the bodies of martyrs,” Hamza Zawba, a spokesman for the Brotherhood’s political arm, said by phone.
“Millions of Egyptians are going to flood Cairo’s streets tomorrow defending their choice and their legitimate president and opposing dictatorship.”
Mr Zawba said the protests were called by an Islamist coalition backing Mr Morsi that includes the Brotherhood.
The army won’t act as long as the demonstrations are peaceful and don’t approach or attempt to harm military and other vital installations or citizens, armed forces spokesman Ahmed Ali told reporters today.
“If these protests, however, deviate from peacefulness,” he said, “there are rules of engagement that will be applied.”
Mr Morsi is being “held for his safety,” because there are people who are “angry from both sides,” Mr Ali said. The former president is “well treated” and hasn’t been charged with any crimes, he said.
Violence has continued in recent days. Gunmen in the Sinai peninsula fired on an Egyptian army commander yesterday, the military said in a statement.
The Brotherhood, in its statement, condemned the attempted assassination. No group claimed responsibility.
Egypt’s economy is stuck in its worst slowdown in two decades. Employment is at a record high, and foreign reserves are less than half their levels in December 2010, two months before longtime leader Hosni Mubarak was toppled in the popular uprising that eventually ushered Mr Morsi into power.
Even some members of the coalition that backed the military’s overthrow of Mr Morsi have voiced reservations about interim president Adly Mansour’s blueprint for elections and the temporary legislative powers he has given himself.
Egypt got some relief from announcements of aid from other Arab countries: Kuwait extended a $4 billion aid package yesterday, adding to the $8 billion pledged by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.