Egypt: Tahrir Square occupied again
Street clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi shook Egypt's port of Alexandria June 28, in a day of rival protests nationwide that left two dead—including a US citizen who was photographing. Several Muslim Brotherhood offices were ransacked and some torched across the country, including the offices in Alexandria and the Nile Delta governorates of Beheira, Gharbiya, Daqahilyah and Kafr Al-Sheikh. The Brotherhood released a statement holding members of the anti-Morsi Tamarod ("Rebel") campaign responsible for the violence, slamming them as "thugs." Cairo's Tahrir Square was again occupied, as thousands marched on the iconic plaza to demand Morsi's ouster.
Meanwhile, in Cairo's Nasr City, thousands of the president's Islamist supporters staged a rally in support of Morsi's "democratic legitimacy." Assem Abdel-Maged, a prominent Gamaa Islamiya figure, told the floor of those demanding the president's ouster "conspirators who the president must deal harshly with." His comments were met with rapturous applause. Activists from the pro-Morsi Tagarod ("Impartiality") campaign also settled in for an ongoing occupation, countering that at Tahrir Square. (Ahram, June 29)
Egypt's Salafist Nour Party declined to participate in either the pro- and anti-government mobilizations. Party leader Younis Makhioun said, "We want to avoid clashes that could lead to the country's total collapse." Makhioun said. But the party rejected the oppositon's call for snap presidential elections. (Ahram, June 25)
Other Salafist groups took a harsher line on the protesters. "I pray to God that the intuitions [?] of these unbelievers and hypocrites will be reversed," said Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, deputy head of the Salafi Legitimate Authority for Rights and Reform.
In response to the remarks, Kareem Abdulhafeez, a member of the protest movement, questioned the cleric's authority. "We say to the Egyptian people of all sects: we, the Egyptian people, believe that the corrupt hypocrites and killers are the Muslim Brotherhood and their followers," he told Al Arabiya. "Egypt is for all Egyptians, the only segment that doesn't belong amongst Egyptians is the Muslim Brotherhood." (Al Arabiya, June 16)