Tension as Egypt braces for rival rallies

2013-07-25 12:40

(AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - Egypt was on edge on Thursday ahead of rival protests by the military and Islamists, as the government declared a "war on terrorism" to end violence convulsing the country since president Mohammed Morsi's overthrow.

Police said they were planning massive reinforcements to secure Friday's rallies, which raise the prospect of further bloodshed between Islamists demanding Morsi's reinstatement and an array of opponents including the military. 

The fugitive leader of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badei urged Egyptians to peacefully make a "stand for freedom and legitimacy, and against the bloody coup," in a statement on Thursday.

The United States said on Wednesday it was "very concerned" by military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's call for a rally to justify a crackdown on what he called "terrorism and violence."

Washington, which has close ties with Egypt's military, also announced it had decided to suspend a plan to supply its ally with F-16 warplanes.

The Brotherhood and allied Islamist groups had denounced Sisi's call as "an announcement of civil war" and said they would press on with their own demonstrations on Friday.

Egyptian newspapers, mostly hostile to the Brotherhood, featured Sisi's call, made in a Wednesday speech, in their front page headlines.

Civil war

The state-owned Al-Akhbar ran a banner, partially in large red font, reading: "Sisi's message has been delivered. And the people respond: We mandate you."

"Sisi calls. And the people respond," reported the leading independent daily, Al-Masry al-Youm.

In Qatar, a Muslim organisation headed by the influential Egyptian-born cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi issued an edict against obeying Sisi's call, saying it could lead to "civil war".

The general's unusual demand - the military insists he is merely a defence minister and deputy premier in the army-installed cabinet - came after calls for a crackdown on Islamists staging sometimes bloody protests since the 3 July coup.

"Next Friday, all honourable Egyptians must take to the street to give me a mandate and command to end terrorism and violence," the general said, wearing dark sunglasses as he addressed a military graduation ceremony near Alexandria.

A spokesperson for army-installed interim president Adly Mansour later said Egypt "has begun a war on terrorism".

Hours before Sisi's speech, a crude time bomb placed outside a police station in the Nile Delta city of Mansura killed a police conscript, the interior ministry said.

In the restive Sinai peninsula, where militants have staged daily attacks on security forces, two soldiers were shot dead in separate ambushes on Wednesday.

More than 170 people have died in political unrest since the end of June, according to an AFP tally, many of them in clashes between Morsi's supporters and opponents.

Huge crowds of Egyptians protested against Morsi on 30 June, after just one turbulent year of his presidency.

Legal action

Senior Brotherhood leader Essam al-Erian said Morsi loyalists would not be intimidated by the army chief's call for mass rallies.

"Your threat will not prevent millions from continuously protesting," Erian wrote on Facebook.

Tamarod, the movement that spearheaded the mass anti-Morsi rallies that led up to the coup, called on supporters to take to the streets again on Friday to support the army.

"We call on the great Egyptian people to rally on Friday across Egypt to demand... Morsi's trial and to support the military in its upcoming war on terrorism."

Morsi's detention, and the subsequent arrests of senior Brotherhood leaders, have hardened his supporters' stance.

His family said it would sue Sisi and also take legal action outside Egypt.

The United States has joined other Western nations in calling for Morsi's release, although it has declined to characterise his overthrow as a coup, which would force a suspension of US aid.

Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  egypt  |  egypt protests  |  north africa  |  egypt crisis
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Be open, network and share your intentions and ideas as these may be the vital seeds to the imminent change that can be starting...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.