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News, June 2013
Egyptian Opposition Observe First Morsi Anniversary With Massive Protests Demanding his Resignation
June 29, 2013
4 killed, including U.S. citizen in escalating violence across Egypt
CAIRO, June 28, 2013 (Xinhua) --
At least four people were killed and more than 160 injured Friday in clashes between the supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, raising the death toll to seven in one week, as the country is set to witness another mass anti-Morsi protest on June 30.
A U.S. citizen was stabbed to death during clashes between anti- and pro-Morsi protesters in Egypt's northern city of Alexandria, Yahya Moussa, spokesman of Health Ministry, told Xinhua, bring the death toll in the city on Friday to two.
He said that the young American was using a mobile phone camera near an office of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood (MB) when he was attacked by protesters.
The U.S. embassy in Cairo said it was still trying to confirm the news.
The embassy also announced earlier Friday that it will suspend its services on Sunday and Monday our of fear of clashes in nearby areas.
Another one people was killed and five were wounded in a gas cylinder explosion among protesters in a Suez city of Port Said.
Also, one people died Friday in Delta city of Mansoura who was deadly injured in bloody clashes there on Wednesday.
In Cairo, tens of thousands of Islamists flocked Friday to Rabaa al-Adawweya Square in Nasr City for a rally in support of the legitimacy of President Morsi.
The rally was staged by over 30 Islamist parties ahead of the opposition's planned anti-Morsi protests on Sunday, the first anniversary of the Islamist-oriented president's rule.
Vowing that they will not allow any "coup against legitimacy," members of MB's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), al-Jamaa al- Islamiya's Construction and Development Party, and Salafist Wattan Party spearheaded the Friday gathering.
"Raise your voice, don't fear, no rule for a liberal," "Egypt is Islamist," shouted the demonstrators.
Meantime, more than 10,000 liberal protesters headed by Tamarrud Campaign, which announced that it has collected more than 15 million anti-president signatures, as well as Popular Current, April 6 Movement and others, flocked to the Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, urging Morsi to leave office.
Hundreds of protesters blocked the traffic near the iconic square while a number of protesters set up tents, saying they will start a sit-in until June 30.
Scores of protesters also gathered outside presidential palace raising "red cards" and shouted slogans demanding Morsi to step down. A number of protesters climbed the wall of the palace and hanged banners against Morsi and the MB, official news agency MENA reported.
In Beheira city, northwest of Cairo, some protesters stormed and set ablaze the building of a MB office, leaving 10 MB members and 20 people injured.
The MB's FJP office in the Delta city of Aga in Daqahliya was also set on fire after a group of protesters attacked it, leaving 32 persons injured. The angry protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the building and attempted to prevent fire engines from reaching the site.
Morsi's opponents accuse him and his group of trying to control all the country's institution without leaving a room for other political forces to share in ruling the major Arab country in the region.
Both the opponent and supports of Morsi went on protests to show their strength and popularity, while observers raised their concerns over violence.
Earlier in the day, the official page of the military spokesman on social network Facebook posted a video titled "the Egyptian army, the protector of the nation" and another video showing the deployment of military troops.
Military spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Ali asserted that the army performs its duty in securing the citizens and their properties. " The deployment of military troops nationwide aims at securing the citizens and vital facilities," Ali told MENA.
Military troops have been deployed in the exists and entrance of the capital and military checkpoint was formed in anticipation of rallies planned on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Morsi delivered a speech to mark his first year in office. He admitted having made some mistakes since he was elected in last June, but his words failed to appease his opponents and were described by observers as "defensive."
Egypt's main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front, said the speech meant that Morsi "doesn't take the opposition seriously," and pressed the embattled president to hold an early presidential election.
Mass protests staged in Egypt by Morsi's supporters, opponents
by Mahmoud Fouly
CAIRO, June 28, 2013 (Xinhua) --
Massive protests in Egypt have been staged by supporters and opponents of controversial Islamist- oriented President Mohamed Morsi, while clashes between the two sides killed at least four and injured over 100 others nationwide on Friday.
Outside the famous Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City, Cairo, thousands of Morsi's Islamist supporters staged a huge march dubbed "Legitimacy is Red Line," defending Morsi as a legitimate president and denouncing the calls of the opposition and activists to oust him through planned June 30 protests.
Most of the president's supporters were from the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Salafist Al-Nour Party and the Islamic group Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya.
"Our slogan is that 'legitimacy is a red line.' We tell those who want to oust Morsi that the president came through legitimate and free elections. The president is a red line," said Samah, a female FJP founding member.
"The group of youth who rebel against the president does not represent Egypt's 92 million people. We cannot let him(Morsi) go after one year. Failing to achieve a certain goal does not mean we overthrow him," she said.
Morad Salama Morad, one of Morsi's supporters from Salafist Al- Nour Party, said he would sacrifice his life for the legitimacy of the president.
"Morsi is an elected president and no one has the right to prevent him from completing his presidential term. This will be over the dead bodies of all these Islamists," Morad said.
Morsi's supporters raised signs and shouted statements of support for the Islamist president, carrying his posters and waving flags of Egypt, the Brotherhood and other Islamic groups.
A female high school student wearing a face-covering veil said she joined the protest "to support the religion of Islam," blaming the ongoing tension between Morsi's supporters and rejecters on what she described as "misleading, dishonest media motivated by personal interests."
Meanwhile, a small march of hundreds of people was held in Upper Egypt's Aswan governorate by supporters of Morsi who stressed his legitimacy and denounced all calls for toppling him.
However, in iconic Tahrir Square, Cairo, flags of Egypt have been waving all over the place with thousands of opponents of Morsi addressing the president to step down.
The anti-president protesters also held large "red cards" reading "go out" or "leave," referring to Morsi, while national songs were loudly playing in the background.
"Morsi's recent speech was negative and it said nothing new. I will certainly join June 30 protests," said Sultan Abdel-Ghaffar Sultan, who wore a slogan on his chest reading "Step down!"
Nagham Sami, a woman in her 40s, who does not belong to any political party, said the country's economy was retreating and all the conditions were worsening. "Therefore I will join June 30 protests in the hope of sacking Morsi."
Adel Kamal, 42, said he was unhappy that nothing of the goals of the 2011 unrest was achieved.
"Since the MB group has come to power, it divided Egyptians and pulled the country backward. We want to sack them all and start a fresh process of holding real elections and drafting a real constitution," the man said.
Clashes between Morsi's supporters and opponents also erupted in different parts of the country, and several MB headquarters were attacked.
"Until this evening, two people were killed in the clashes in Alexandria, including a 21-year-old U.S. citizen who was stabbed in the chest," Yahya Moussa, spokesman of Health Ministry, told Xinhua, adding that at least 139 were injured nationwide.
Egyptian Islamists defend president's legitimacy ahead of opponents' protests
CAIRO, June 28, 2013 (Xinhua) --
Thousands of Egyptian Islamists flocked Friday to Rabaa al-Adawweya Square in Cairo's Nasr City for a rally in support of the legitimacy of Islamist-oriented President Mohamed Morsi.
The rally was staged by over 30 Islamist parties ahead of the opposition's planned anti-Morsi protests slated for June 30, the first anniversary of Morsi's rule.
Vowing that they will not allow "coup against legitimacy," referring to Morsi as a "legitimate, freely-elected" president, members of Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, al- Jamaa al-Islamiya's Construction and Development Party, and Salafist Wattan Party spearheaded the Friday gathering.
The demonstrators also announced an open-ended sit-in in preparation for another rally on June 30 to support Morsi against the anti-president demonstrations arranged by liberals on the same day.
"Raise your voice, don't fear, no rule for a liberal," "Egypt is Islamist," "O liberals, you won't rule Egypt anymore," shouted the demonstrators.
Meanwhile, hundreds of liberal protesters, headed by Tamarrud Campaign, Popular Current, April 6 Movement and others, flocked to the Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo on Friday, urging Morsi to leave.
On Wednesday, the embattled president delivered a speech to mark his first year in office. Although he admitted to have made some mistakes since he was elected last June, his words failed to appease his opponents and were described by observers as " defensive."
Egypt's main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front, said the speech meant that Morsi "doesn't take the opposition seriously," pressing him to hold an early presidential election.
Obama tells Egyptians to talk, not fight
By Maggie Fick and Alexander Dziadosz
CAIRO | Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:16am EDT
CAIRO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama called on Egypt's government and opposition on Saturday to engage each other in constructive dialogue and prevent violence spilling out across the region.
Political violence on Friday killed three people, including an American student, and mass rallies are planned for Sunday aimed at unseating Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
Obama said he was "looking at the situation with concern".
Hundreds have been wounded and at least eight killed in street fighting for over a week as political deadlock deepens. On Friday, a bomb killed a protester at a rally by the Suez Canal. Washington is pulling non-essential staff out of Egypt.
"Every party has to denounce violence," Obama said at the other end of Africa, in Pretoria. "We'd like to see the opposition and President Mursi engage in a more constructive conversation about how they move their country forward because nobody is benefiting from the current stalemate."
He added that it was "challenging, given there is not a tradition of democracy in Egypt".
Mursi's critics hope millions will march on Sunday when he marks a year in power to demand new elections. They accuse his Muslim Brotherhood of hijacking the revolution of 2011 and using its electoral majorities to monopolize power.
"Egypt is the largest country in the Arab world," Obama said. "The entire region is concerned that, if Egypt continues with this constant instability, that has adverse effects more broadly." U.S. missions would be protected, he said. Last year, a consulate in Libya was overrun and Americans killed.
The Egyptian army, heavily funded by Washington since before Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, is on alert. It warned politicians it may step in if they lose control of the streets - an outcome some in the diffuse opposition coalition may quietly welcome, but to which Mursi's Islamist allies might respond with force.
It is unclear how big the rallies will be or when they may start. Protest organizers said on Saturday a petition calling on Mursi to quit had 22 million signatures - over 40 percent of the electorate and 7 million more than they announced 10 days ago.
The figure could not be verified, but independent analysts say there is a real prospect of very large demonstrations.
Some few thousand activists in Cairo were camping out at rival centers on Saturday. There was no sign of renewed trouble.
Several offices of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood were attacked on Friday, including one in Alexandria where two men died, including 21-year-old American Andrew Procter. In Port Said on the Suez Canal, a home-made hand grenade killed a protester and wounded 15.
The Health Ministry said 236 people were injured on Friday.
The U.S. embassy evacuated non-essential staff and warned citizens to avoid Egypt. An airport source said dozens of U.S. personnel and their families left Cairo for Germany on Saturday.
The U.S. ambassador has angered liberals by saying Mursi was legitimately elected and that protests may be counter-productive for an economy crippled by unrest that has cut tourism revenues.
In the capital, Islamist supporters were still camped outside a suburban mosque where they had gathered in the many thousands on Friday to vent anger and fear over a return of army-backed rule. Some speakers also urged reconciliation.
On Tahrir Square, seat of the uprising of early 2011, flags and tents formed a base camp for protesters. They hoped for millions on the streets under slogans accusing Mursi and the Brotherhood of hijacking the revolution against Hosni Mubarak to entrench their own rule. A rally was also planned outside the presidential palace, where some had already taken up position.
With short supplies of fuel adding to long-standing economic woes, many said they would turn out on Sunday, when Mursi marks his first year in office as Egypt's first ever freely elected leader, to demand a new president who can bring them prosperity.
Liberal opposition leaders dismissed an offer of cooperation from Mursi this week as too little too late. The Brotherhood, which says at least five of its supporters have been killed in days of street fighting, accuses liberals of allying with those loyal to Mubarak to mount a coup against the electoral process.
The opposition says the Brotherhood are trying to monopolize power, Islamize a diverse society and throttle dissent. They cite as evidence Mursi's broadsides against critical media and legal proceedings launched against journalists and satirists.
"Mursi is no longer the legitimate president of Egypt," Mohamed Abdelaziz, a protest organizer, told a news conference where others called for peaceful sit-ins to last until Mursi made way for an interim administration led by a senior judge.
"Come June 30, the people will run Egypt!" chanted people attending the event. The opposition, which has lost a series of elections, wants to reset the rules that emerged in a messy process of army and then Islamist rule since early 2011.
Egypt's leading religious authority warned of the risk of "civil war" after violence in the past week that left several dead and hundreds injured. The clerics backed Mursi's offer to talk to opposition groups before Sunday's protests.
A senior figure at Cairo's Al-Azhar institute said Sunday should be a day of "community dialogue and civilized expression of opinion", a "catalyst" for political leaders to understand their national duty - and the "dangerous alternative".
Senior Brotherhood figure Essam el-Erian was dismissive of middle-class protest organizers in a Facebook post: "Millions of farmers will wake early, perform their morning prayers and go to their fields to harvest food for the people," he wrote.
Warning again that Mubarak-era "thugs" would spread violence among peaceful protesters, he said government would continue: "President Mohamed Mursi will go to his office tomorrow to sign new planning and budget laws for the new financial year."
Medical and security officials in Alexandria, Egypt's second city, said the American was fatally stabbed as he filmed events at the Brotherhood office in the Mediterranean port during an attack by anti-Mursi protesters, who eventually ransacked it.
Kenyon College in Ohio said Pochter was one of its students and came from Chevy Chase, Maryland. A Facebook post apparently from his family said Pochter had been teaching English to 7- and 8-year-olds and had been improving his Arabic:
"He went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East, and he planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding," the post read.
"As we understand it, he was witnessing the protest as a bystander and was stabbed by a protester."
(Additional reporting by Yasmine Saleh, Alexander Dziadosz, Omar Fahmy, Tom Perry, Patrick Werr, Shaimaa Fayed and Alastair Macdonald in Cairo and Yusri Mohamed in Ismailia; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Gareth Jones)
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