07/03/2013, 00.00
EGYPT
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Egyptians wait for the dawn of a new day

by André Azzam
The Army’s ultimatum to Mohammad Morsi to respond to the protester’s demands expires in a few hours. However, last night the president gave a televised speech, making it clear that he does not intend to step down: 32 people killed thus far in clashes.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Egypt waits with bated breath to see how the clash between President Morsi, the millions of demonstrators on the streets demanding his resignation and the army, which has given the President an ultimatum to meet the demands of the population, which expires in the afternoon, will end.

Meanwhile the "Tamarrud" movement shows no signs of wanting to leave the squares of the country although yesterday - after Morsi's televised speech - clashes between democracy protesters and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have caused 32 dead and about 800 injured. In addition, after the speech, the government began to crumble: the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Sport and three presidential spokesmen have resigned.

The dawn of a new day has risen in Egypt and hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are still in the squares all over the country hoping for a new future for the homeland to be decided today. In about ten hours of time the army ultimatum to the regime to settle the situation and respond to the people's requests ends.

Late last night, Mohammad Morsi gave a speech on national TV, totally refusing to cooperate and to quit what he describes as his legitimate role. During more than 45 minutes, he used the word ''legitimacy'' for more than 55 times. He said he had opened his door to dialogue and is eager to remove the general prosecutor, reshuffle his cabinet, and constitute a special commission in order to suggest some changes in the constitution, to be approved by the new parliament when it is elected.

It is clear that this was all that he could offer and nothing more, sticking to his argument based on the ''democratic vote of the people''. He described the huge demonstrations all over the country as a ''bunch of people led by old regime remnants and opportunist elements'', never affording this ''opposition'' the recognition that it is also the voice of the people's will. He also asked everybody to be careful and not to be influenced by any different trends as well as to strongly resist what is against legitimacy.

His speech was very badly received by the millions of demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square, in front of the presidential palace in Héliopolis, and in front of Qobba palace (a former royal palace at middle distance between Tahrir and Heliopolis), where Morsi has decided to reside these last days in order to avoid being in Héliopolis. The same rejection was expressed in all the main squares of every Egyptian town all over the country.

Observers reacted strongly accusing Morsi of invoking a civil war. In fact, immediately after the speech was over, clashes erupted next to Cairo University area, where supporters of Morsi set up positions yesterday. At least seven people were reported shot by the members of the Muslim brotherhood, among which the local deputy chief of the police who was shot in the head and chest. He was transported to a hospital and soon was reported dead. Many wounded people were transported to the Boulaq al-Dakrour hospital, South of the Cairo University hospital, but the Director of the hospital refused to take care of anyone who does not belong to the brotherhood. Leading people in the area called for ambulances to go there to take care of the wounded and bring them to big hospitals. They also presented a complaint against the medical doctor directing the hospital and intend to report him to the professional order of medicine in order to banish him from any future medical role. In this same area observers reported that many non-Egyptian elements were arrested with automatic weapons, probably members of Hamas, from Gaza area.

Immediately after Morsi's speech a report was read on the Ministers Council tweeter account stating that the government did not agree with the speech. Half an hour later, the report was delayed. Then the Foreign Affairs minister announced his resignation, and was followed by Egyptian diplomats association who decided to down arms in Egyptian représentations abroad, except for urgent consular matters. Three of the presidency spokesmen resigned as well as many of the governors, and the Minister of Sports.

Never has Mohammad Morsi appeared more isolated than now. On top of this, it is said that he took refuge into the Republican Guards premises, from where his speech was broadcast. Demonstrators announced they would gather in front of those premises during the day, before the deadline in the afternoon.

Many leaders from the Salvation Front stated that Morsi should even be arrested and judged because of his call to civil war. Observers stressed on the fact that Morsi cares little for the Egyptian bloodshed and is ready to shed more to remain on his seat, relying on elements coming out of Egypt to fight against Egyptians,  while Egyptian people demonstrating are respectful of any drop of Egyptian blood. According to the armed forces, nearly thirty million Egyptians have taken to the Streets from Alexandria in the North, to Asswan in the South. No damages were reported except for the assaults against Brotherhood premises in Alexandria and Cairo. Many of the people questioned by different TV channels preferred to label Morsi's supporters as the ''Brotherhood'', omitting the ''Muslim'' epithet since they consider that they are harming Islam. 

Most of the observers recognize one achievement of Morsi's: he succeeded in "totally curing Egypt of the Brotherhood''. They assert that the Brotherhood regime has come to an end and that never again will the Brotherhood be able to claim or hold power in the country.

Demonstrators are claiming the evidence to represent legitimacy and the Salvation Front has chosen Mohammad al Baradeï, former head of the International Agency for Atomic Energy, to be the official spokesman of the people, with three young technocrats, in order to design the future path of Egypt.

It is clear that ''Tamarrud'' (rebellion) movement has been making History and that the hope for the future in Egypt is strong from now on.This new day will be a decisive one, according to everybody,  observers and demonstrators. The rigid winter of Egypt will hopefully turn into a real spring, and fascist and religious autocracy will definitely change into real steps towards true democracy.

 

 

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