Monday, July 29, 2013

Egyptian Military Regime Blames Islamist Forces for Repressive Measures

Pro-Mori Wasat Party leaders arrested

Monday 29 Jul 2013
Ahram Online

Wasat Party head Aboul-Ela Madi and deputy leader Essam Sultan were arrested in the early hours of Monday.

Both men were arrested in the hill-top Moqattam district before being transferred to Tora Prison on the edge of Cairo, where former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons are also held.

The arrest of Madi and Sultan, who are staunch supporters of ousted president Mohmaed Morsi, came weeks after the detention of a handful of leading Islamist figures in the wake of Morsi’s ouster.

Wasat Party was founded by defectors of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails.

Egypt’s prosecution blames Nasr City violence on Morsi supporters

Ahram Online, Monday 29 Jul 2013

Prosecution says supporters of deposed president are armed, accuse them of killing and damaging property

Egyptian prosecutors say investigations initially indicate that supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi damaged public and private properties in Cairo’s Nasr City district, which saw clashes between them and police forces in the early hours on Saturday.

Ahmed El-Rakeib, media coordinator of Egypt’s prosecutor general Hisham Barakat, confirmed allegations by eyewitnesses that the deadly confrontations between Morsi’s supporters and security forces (assisted by residents) erupted after the former camp sought to block the Sixth of October Bridge.

El-Rakeib also said there were casualties among the police and residents during the street battle.

Doctors at the field hospital of the massive pro-Morsi sit-in in Nasr City said at least 200 protesters were killed and 4500 injured from, most of whom they say were fatally shot.

The Ministry of Health said at least 80 had been killed in Naser City'sviolence in the early hours of Saturday.

The prosecution has already asked the forensic specialists to determine the cause of deaths.

On how violence erupted on Saturday, El-Rakeib confirmed eyewitness accounts that Morsi’s supporters sought to rally on top of the Sixth of October Bridge, which prompted security forces to take action.

He said that Morsi’s supporters blocked Nasr Street, which leads to the bridge, using pavement bricks, and sought to torch the Egypt Expo & Convention Authority (EECA).

El-Rakeib also revealed that police have arrested 74 suspected in the violence, having also seized a number of firearms, ammunition and bladed weapons in the area.

For weeks, thousands of pro-Morsi protesters have been staging a sit-in near Rabaa Al-Adawyia Mosque and another at Giza's Al-Nahda Square in front of Cairo University. They have also been organising marches across Egypt to demand the reinstatement of Morsi as president.

In Nasr City, protesters are usually situated near Rabaa Al-Adawyia Mosque. However, their numbers increased on Friday, with crowds reaching the Unknown Soldier Memorial (one kilometre away) and the EECA near the Sixth of October Bridge.

The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, instigated massive demonstrations on Friday to counterbalance nationwide protests called for by army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who said he wanted to be granted a popular "mandate to deal with violence and potential terrorism."

Responding to his call, millions hit the streets across the country on Friday to voice support for El-Sisi and Egypt's army, and to express anger against Morsi and the Brotherhood.

After one year in office, Morsi was ousted on 3 July as part of the Egyptian armed forces' roadmap, which was launched days after mass nationwide protests began against the former elected president.

Morsi has been held incommunicado ever since.

Morsi's supporters and opponents have frequently faced off since his overthrow, leading to at least 100 dead and hundreds injured in the past few weeks. Both camps have used firearms against one other, among other weapons, on numerous occasions.

Egypt's Rebel movement proposes 'arms-free protests' initiative

Ayat Al-Tawy, Sunday 28 Jul 2013

The youth protest movement proposes initiative to ensure weaponless demonstration sites in wake of deadly Saturday violence

Egypt's youth Rebel (Tamarod) campaign has put forward a fresh initiative to ensure arms-free protests in Egypt after dozens were gunned down in deadly clashes between security forces and loyalists of the country's toppled Islamist leader.

The mammoth movement, which was the driving force behind the 30 June mass protests which culminated in the overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi, has yet to officially announce the initiative.

Co-founder Mahmoud Badr proposes– via Twitter–visits by a joint delegation of prosecutors, rights campaigners and Arab League members to protest camps for inspection.According to Badr, the delegates must hold arrest power in case arms or suspects of violence are identified.

Badr said the move is designed as a means of "rejecting the arming of [protest] squares and restoring the value of peaceful sit-ins"

Saturday's violence has plunged Egypt into deeper turmoil, laying bare widening polarisation between rival factions for and against the army's popularly-backed overthrow of Morsi.

Egypt's interior ministry Mohamed Ibrahem denied police opened fire at the protestors, with his spokesman accusing the deposed president's supporters of using firearms and birdshot against local residents and police in the north Cairo clashes.

Badr went on to note that he expects anti-Morsi protesters to welcome the move. If the president's loyalists refuse, "the whole world would be a witness to their rejection of peacefulness," Badr said via his Twitter account.

The incident – the bloodiest since Morsi's exit – has provoked alarm in the west, with the US and the EU condemning the bloodshed and urging peaceful management of demonstrations. At least 72 were killed and hundreds of others wounded in the violence, according to the Ministry of Health.

Pro-Morsi protesters victimising themselves to gain advantage: Egypt presidency

Nada Hussein Rashwan, Sunday 28 Jul 2013

Following Saturday's bloody clashes between police and Morsi supporters, political affairs aide says Egyptian state 'will not stand silent in face of terrorism'

Presidential aide for political affairs Mostafa Hegazi has accused the Islamist supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi of intentionally victimising themselves in order to gain a negotiation advantage. Hegazi's accusation comes one day after the killing of at least 72 pro-Morsi protesters following clashes between police and Morsi supporters in Cairo's Nasr City.

"The Egyptian state will never accept the shedding of Egyptian blood, regardless of political affiliations, but it also will not stand silent in the face of blackmail and terrorism of its citizens," Hegazi said in a press conference on Sunday evening. "The law will be applied firmly and intently," he added.

Several human rights organisations and political figures have decried the excessive force used by police against Morsi supporters during early Saturday's clashes.

Hegazi added that the assaults on security units in Sinai's border region, as well as those against Morsi opponents, are organised attacks.

"It is not an exaggeration to say that what is going on now is a war of terrorism against [Egyptian] society. No political disagreement can be solved with violence," Hegazi said.

Hegazi went on to affirm that the post-Morsi political roadmap – enforced by the army following its popularly-backed removal of the former president on 3 July – will not be hindered.

Supporters of former president Morsi have staged regular demonstrations across Egyptian cities following the president's ouster. Many of these protests have developed into deadly clashes with police or unknown assailants.

Morsi supporters have also maintained a sit-in at Nasr City's Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque since 28 June. The Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Morsi hails, has stated that it will not negotiate until Morsi is reinstated as president.

Renewed gun battles in Egypt's North Sinai

Ahram Online , Sunday 28 Jul 2013

Security forces exchange gunfire with unknown assailants in North Sinai town of Arish as unrest continues in lawless peninsula

Unidentified assailants opened fire at several security sites in the Sinai Peninsula late on Sunday near Egypt's border with Israel and the Gaza Strip.No injuries or deaths have been reported.

Security forces and gunmen exchanged gunfire at three security checkpoints as well asthe security directorate headquarters in North Sinai's Arish, Ahram Arabic news website reported.

The deserted province is a hotbed for hard-line Islamist militants who have intensified their attacks onsecurity and military checkpoints since the army's popularly-backed overthrow of Egypt's Islamist leader early in July.

Dozens of security personnel and civilians have been killed and around a hundred injured in drive-by shootings and rocket attacks since Morsi's ouster. The army has killed tens of alleged jihadi fighters in its latest crackdown in the peninsula.

Prosecution orders arrest of Brotherhood supreme guide, again

Ahram Online, Sunday 28 Jul 2013

Group's Mohamed Badie, who is at large, faces yet another arrest warrant with prosecutors citing alleged involvement in Saturday's clashes in Helwan

Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and two other Islamist figures for their alleged roles in recent violence in Helwan, southern Cairo, that left 20 injured.

Helwan's prosecution office called for the arrest of Badie, Brotherhood leading member Mohamed El-Beltagy, and Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazy after clashes broke out late Saturday between Brotherhood supporters and local residents in the area's Al-Shohada Square, according to Ahram's Arabic news website.

Violence reportedly erupted when Brotherhood supporters took to the streets after evening prayers and called for the reinstatement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. In the ensuing clashes, gunfire and Molotov cocktails were used and nearly two dozen people wounded.

The prosecution also detained three other Brotherhood members on charges of torching a microbus, three cars and ten local shops.

The Brotherhood's Supreme Guide, along with a number of other Islamist figures, is already the subject of several arrest warrants for his alleged involvement in a wave of fatal violence that broke out since Morsi was removed from power on July 3.

Last Wednesday, prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat ordered the arrest of nine Brotherhood leaders and allies of the group, including Badie, for inciting violence in Qalioubiya governorate.

Two weeks earlier, the general prosecution issued arrest warrants for Badie and nine others, mostly Brotherhood members, accusing them of inciting the violence at Cairo's Republican Guard headquarters on July 8 that left at least 53 people dead.

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