Muslim Brotherhood rejects offer of safe exit for Egypt protesters
Egypt’s interior ministry urges Morsi supporters to quit sit-ins
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi mourn during a funeral yesterday for two people killed in recent clashes at Rabaa Adawiya Square, where they are camping in Nasr city area, east of Cairo. Photograph: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood yesterday rejected an interior ministry proposal for a “safe exit” and “full protection” for supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi if they leave month-long sit-ins at Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City and Nahda Square in Giza.
The ministry urged Egyptians in the encampments to “let reason and the national interest prevail, and quickly leave”.
The Brotherhood and its allies responded by condemning the order to the security forces to end sit-ins and calling for peaceful “million man marches” today.
“Morsi loyalists will continue their sit-in, and no threats will frighten them,” stated Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Aref, adding, “The military coup is terrorism.”
At Rabaa al-Adawiya, protest leaders urged demonstrators to accept martyrdom if necessary. “Martyrs don’t die. Martyr’s go to paradise,” a speaker proclaimed.
The April 6th youth movement rejected the decision to end the sit-ins, arguing that “a security solution is a declaration of failure and disregard for blood”.
Addressing the Brotherhood, the movement said, “You have failed and you were going to throw the country into the abyss. Now you send your supporters into lost battles in order to achieve personal interests, regardless of the interests of the country. Stop shedding blood and leave.”
Pro-Morsi radical fundamentalist Gamaa al-Islamiya warned that the interim government’s plan to disband the sit-ins “will trigger chaos”. The group, notorious for the 1997 murders of 58 tourists at Luxor, said: “The attempt to impose the will of the bloody military coup on the people will trigger chaos, and the commander of the coup, the figurehead president and the interior minister will be responsible.”
The group called on “honourable” soldiers and police not to take part in clearing the encampments.
Amnesty International said the decision to end the protests is a recipe “for further bloodshed [given] the Egyptian security forces’ record of policing demonstrations with the routine use of excessive and unwarranted lethal force,” said Hassiba Haj Sahraoui, regional deputy director.
“The authorities as well as the security forces should start with an approach that avoids the use of force and is based on ‘methods of persuasion, negotiation and mediation.”
At least 200 people have been killed since Mr Morsi was overthrown on July 3rd.
EU envoy Bernadino Leon held discussions with Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad during a tour of Rabaa al-Adawiya and met Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi and members of the anti-Morsi Tamarod (Rebel) movement.
German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle called on both sides to remain peaceful and agree to an inclusive solution.
“I am here to encourage all political forces to engage in dialogue,” he said.
However, Minister of Social Solidarity Ahmed El-Borai said the government is “examining the [Brotherhood’s] dossier” with a view to disbanding it. The movement, founded in 1919, was only legalised in March 2012.
After tracking rallies across Egypt in July, the Democracy Index said there had been “one of the biggest waves of demonstrations in Egyptian and international history”.