01/29/2013, 00.00
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The Muslim Brotherhood in a blind alley, Egyptian journalist says

In Port Said, Ismailia and Suez, the curfew imposed by Mohamed Morsi is being ignored. As a sign of their contempt, young people are organising night-time soccer matches. Police no longer acknowledge the authority of the Interior Ministry. The grand imam of al-Azhar has gone in volunteer exile in protest against Islamists. Opposition parties and Christian Churches have given up on "useless" talks with the government. Even the poor and illiterate, the Brotherhood's main electoral base, are tired of being used as pawns.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - "No one in Port Said, Ismailia or Suez is respecting the curfew ordered by President Mohamed Morsi. In Ismailia some young men have organised an overnight soccer match in one of the city's stadiums. In Cairo, where there is no state of emergency, Tahrir Square and the district of Heliopolis are guarded by thousands of people, a sort of mass sit-in that should last until the government meets the demands of the people, namely change the constitution, dismiss the government and force the resignation of the attorney general appointed by the president," this according to André Azzam, an Egyptian journalist who spoke to AsiaNews about the country's current chaotic situation, caught between demonstrations marking the second anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution and protests by soccer fans that left 30 people dead and 500 injured.

"The Muslim Brotherhood is far removed from the needs of ordinary Egyptians," Azzam explained. "They are losing authority and popularity every day. No one wants to talk to them because they have nothing to say and only want to defend the power they have seized."

Christian Churches (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical) and opposition parties have started boycotting them. For the latter, talks proposed by the president are "useless and meaningless". In a press release, the spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, Fr Rafic Greiche, said that "the meetings are unproductive and lead nowhere."

For Azzam, the Christian minority and opposition parties are not the only groups keeping at arm's length from the Islamist establishment. Police and al-Azhar University are openly boycotting the government.

"After what happened in Port Said, police officers no longer recognise the authority of the Islamist-dominated Interior Ministry. Recently, they have prevented ministry officials from taking part in the funerals of agents killed during the attack by al-Masri soccer fans on police stations in the city located on the mouth of the Suez Canal."

 "Last Thursday, Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam at al-Azhar, refused to take part in celebrations marking the birth of Muhammad. Since then, he has been in voluntary exile in his native village near Luxor. He is concerned that Islamists want to take over the ancient Islamic university."

Rural residents, a group that traditionally backs the Muslim Brotherhood, are turning away as well. Last Friday, Islamists kept away from celebrations marking the Arab spring, going instead into the villages to volunteer and hand out food at half price.

"They are trying this way to earn the support of the illiterate who, however, are starting to see that they are being used by unscrupulous people," Azzam explained.

"A Cairo taxi driver who lives in a suburb told me he bought two kilos of meat for his family from one of these places," he said. "It was so old that even after five hours of cooking you could not eat it."

"According to him, the poor are tired of being hoodwinked and are no longer willing to sell themselves for a bag of rice or a piece of inedible meat. They too want to participate in building Egypt." (S.C.)

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