Interim cabinet attempts to restore ‘harmony’ in Egypt
Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chants slogans against Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
Muslim Brotherhood protests against the ousting of president Mohamed Morsi continued yesterday in Cairo as the caretaker cabinet and the new constitutional commission began work.
Interim president Adly Mansour also met Jordan’s King Abdullah, the first Arab head of state to visit Cairo since the fast-tracked transitional period began. The king extended his support to “Egyptian national choices”, a presidential statement said.
The cabinet met for nearly four hours to discuss the deteriorating security and economic situation, and issued a statement to appeal to the public by pledging to reduce the price of essential goods, improve distribution of bread and fuel, and promote reconciliation.
Six judges and four constitutional experts began revising the suspended constitution drafted by a Brotherhood-dominated commission accused of enshrining fundamentalist provisions that curb the rights of non-Muslims, women and workers.
The committee will have 30 days to finalise a document for review by a larger group of 50 representatives of society before being put to referendum, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.
In his first television address, interim prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi called for a “return to harmony”.
He said he had a free hand in choosing ministers and had not met army chief Gen Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi until he was sworn in as deputy premier and defence minister. Gen Sisi has dismissed rumours he will stand for the presidency.
‘Dialogue’ vs ‘gun barrels’
In response to Mr Beblawi’s call for dialogue, Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said, “There can be no dialogue when gun barrels are pointing towards the [pro-Morsi] protesters.”
The Brotherhood’s former ally, the ultra-orthodox Salafi Nour party criticised the campaign for reinstatement, arguing mass opposition makes it “impossible” for Mr Morsi to resume. Nour warned that unending protests risk violence.
In Cairo, pro-Morsi activists went to the German and Indian embassies while others headed for the US embassy.
Headscarved women marched towards the defence ministry to protest the slaying of three women in Mansoura, a town north of Cairo, at a protest against Mr Morsi’s ouster.
The three died when the marchers were attacked by armed baltagia, thugs formerly employed by the security apparatus under deposed president Hosni Mubarak.