08/01/2013, 00.00
EGYPT - ISLAM
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Thousands of pro-Morsi supporters defy government's ultimatum

For the interim government the sit-in near the al-Rabaa Adawiya mosque and Nahda square, near Cairo University are "a threat to the security of the country." The Muslim Brotherhood promises they will not stop even in front of a "massacre." Mohamed Badie accused of inciting follower to violence; Morsi accused of violence and conspiring with Hamas. Bland reactions from Europe and the USA.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Thousands of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi have decided to continue protests despite government threats against demonstrations.

Since Morsi was ousted on July 3, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists have organized demonstrations and sit-ins in a square near the al-Rabaa Adawiya mosque and Nahda square, near Cairo University. The head of the Armed Forces, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had already given an ultimatum last week and there were clashes between security forces and pro-Morsi protesters, with dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries.

The interim interior ministry confirmed yesterday that the sit-ins and acts of "terrorism and blocking of roads" are no longer acceptable because they have become "a threat to the security of the country." But different personalities of the Muslim Brotherhood reiterated that the protesters will not be stopped by threats and will continue, even if it leads to a"massacre," demanding respect and "democracy."

Mohamed Morsi was elected in June last year in the first free elections since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. But he immediately tried to monopolize power with special laws, eliminating opponents, making ideological appointments to the judiciary, replacing key posts with Brotherhood members and Salafists. This led to large-scale protests and the collection of over 20 million signatures for his resignation from president. The army supported the wave of resentment toward Morsi and gave birth to an interim government which is preparing new elections and a new constitution - more liberal and less Islamic - for next year.

Yesterday, the supreme leader of the Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, was accused of pushing the demonstrators to violence. Last week Morsi was accused of "premeditated murder of some prisoners, officers and men" during the anti-Mubarak uprising in January 2011. He is also accused of conspiring with the group Hamas, which from the Gaza Strip maintains good ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and is suspected of attacks against soldiers in the Sinai.

The European Union and the United States defend the right of assembly of the Brotherhood, but are concerned about an escalation of the violence and call for a peaceful resolution of tensions.

 

 

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