Real Arab Spring retakes Egypt, says Democratic activist
Cairo (AsiaNews) - "With this demonstration, Egyptians have reclaimed Tahrir Square and the values of the Arab Spring that the Muslim Brotherhood had seized," said Mina Magdy, spokesman for the Maspero Youth Union, a Muslim-Christian human rights association that is one of the backers of the Tamarod (rebel)' campaign.
Speaking to AsiaNews, the young man said that yesterday, "millions of Egyptians, Christians and Muslims, women with or without their heads covered, children, seniors, students and workers, crowded the squares and streets of Egypt's main cities" in protest against the regime of President Mohamed Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood.
In view of the situation Egypt's armed forces announced today that they are giving all political groups 48 hours to stop the demonstrations. If this does not happen, they will take immediate security and other measures to ensure the country's future.
According to preliminary figures, more than 23 million people in 27 governorates joined the 'Tamarod' campaign, signing a petition against the Muslim Brotherhood president to demand early elections. Rally organisers gave the president a 24-hour ultimatum to resign. Against this, the Muslim Brotherhood staged a number of counter-demonstrations, which drew tens of tens of thousands of people.
"The demonstration," said Mina Magdy, "was not organised by opposition parties, as Western media are reporting. What happened yesterday was a demonstration by Egyptians against the Muslim Brotherhood regime with people joining the campaign on their own, not in the name of political parties or movements. Everyone is tired with the lies of the Muslim Brotherhood, which, after the fall of the Mubarak regime, has done everything to write its own 'rules'."
Egyptians are also fed up with the behaviour of the United States, the young man said. "In addition to banners against Morsi, some people carried signs against Barack Obama and the US ambassador in Cairo. Ignoring the demands of the youth of the Arab Spring, the US has contributed to rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood."
At present, huge crowds have thronged Tahrir Square and the area in front of the presidential palace in the Heliopolis district, as demonstrations continue in the main cities of the country.
This morning, 250 fishing boats also took over the port of Damietta (Nile Delta), displaying banners against the president.
Although the protests have remained peaceful, tensions in some areas of the capital are growing. Today, in the Islamist stronghold of Mokattam, some rioters set fire to the headquarters of the Justice and Freedom (Muslim Brotherhood) Party. According to local media, the attack left eight people dead, but what actually happened remains unclear.
For Fr Rafic Greiche, a spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, what happened yesterday in the country is something extraordinary. "In the history of Egypt," he noted, "nothing like it had ever happened before."
The priest slams Western newspapers that are determined not to understand the real extent of the protest. "Egypt is not divided into two," he said. "Various Islamist movements have turned their backs on the Muslim Brotherhood, which now actually represent less than 25 per cent of the population. At least, 85 per cent of the country is against the Islamist government, which does not have the capacity to lead the country and in recent months has only attempted to place its own men in government institutions, like Mubarak did when he was in power."
So far, Mohamed Morsi has not yet made any official statement. Yesterday, some members of his party gave interviews to local newspapers, accusing the opposition of leading an attack against democracy and the president. (S.C.)