Friday, July 5, 2013

Egypt's Islamists to hold 'Friday of Rejection'

Egypt braced for more unrest Friday as Islamists prepared to take to the streets to protest against what they are calling a military coup.
A coalition of Islamist groups that includes the Muslim Brotherhood called for peaceful demonstrations, which are set to kick off on what they have dubbed a "Friday of Rejection."
The National Alliance in Support of Electoral Legitimacy said it "feels rising public anger and the imminent danger threatening the nation as a result of the unprecedented military coup d'├ętat against legitimacy derived from the will of the people and the January 25 Revolution."
In a statement, the alliance said "It affirmed its full and categorical rejection of the military coup — against the President, the Constitution and democratic legitimacy — and all consequent actions and effects."

On Wednesday, Egypt's army — backed by widespread support from Egyptians — effectively ousted President Mohammed Morsi. The nation's parliament was dissolved, the constitution was suspended and Adly Mansour, head of the country's High Constitutional Court, was sworn in as the interim president.
No date has yet been set for new parliamentary or presidential elections.
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The ongoing political turmoil has sparked pockets of violence nationwide over the past week, killing around 50. Clashes erupted again on Thursday between Morsi's opponents and supporters, this time in Morsi's hometown, Zagazig, which is located in the Nile Delta region. Dozens were injured.
Reports also said gunmen on Thursday attacked several police and military outposts in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula — a massive chunk of land that borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Some fear violence may escalate in the coming days, and there are threats of Islamist retaliation. But organizers of Friday's pro-Morsi rallies are calling for peaceful mobilization.
Islamists are furious over what they see view as a blatant attempt to thwart democracy. They say Morsi has constitutional legitimacy because he was democratically elected in what was considered the country's first free and fair election.
At the Cairo mosque where Morsi supporters have gathered for nearly a week, the mood was subdued on Thursday. Protesters said they won't budge until Morsi comes back. Many are angry at what they view as international support for a military coup, particularly from the United States.
"America supported the coup," said Hani Abu Nasser, an Arabic teacher an institute associated with Al-Azhar, a leading academic and Islamic establishment.. He thinks the U.S. is supporting Hosni Mubarak's "discriminatory" regime to try to keep political Islam from succeeding.
Muslim Brotherhood figures have been rounded up and arrested over the past few days and some are barred from leaving the country, further infuriating Islamists.
There is also concern among human rights groups over the effects of such rights abuses.
"A return to Mubarak-era practices of mass arrests and politically-motivated imprisonment of Muslim Brotherhood leaders will have the worst possible effect on Egypt's political future," Human Rights Watch said.
"Egypt's new interim president and the military leadership should immediately end reprisals against Muslim Brotherhood political leaders, including arrests or travel bans, and should allow the Freedom and Justice Party to fully exercise freedom of association, the rights group said.
Several Islamist television channels have also been cut, violating expression freedoms.
Maha Maamoun, a human rights activist, said there is concern that rights violations could escalate in the weeks ahead as the army implements steps in the transitional period.
While Egypt was ruled by a group of generals after Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011, the nation witnessed a spike in the number of military trials for civilians. In military courts, judges are military officers and basic due process rights are not respected, rights groups say. Soldiers also killed protesters, repeatedly broke up demonstrations using force and committed other human rights crimes.
"We are worried about the military," Maamoun said, noting that even under Morsi, military trials for civilians have continued.
Still, many have cheered the military's role in facilitating Morsi's ouster, celebrating again Thursday night in Tahrir Square. Morsi's opponents don't view his overthrow as a coup, but rather a second — or continuing — revolution in which the army acted on the will of the people.
"It's going to be a transitional phase and (the military) will not rule," said Amir Dous, who protested against Morsi in the square this week. "They are here to make it easier for the transition to a democratic country."
"That's what I believe," he said.

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