Egyptian liberals clash with Morsi supporters

Egyptian liberals clash with Morsi supporters

Egyptian liberals clash with Morsi supporters

A supporter of Egypt’s President Morsi (in red) clashes with anti-Morsi protesters during a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Cairo. About 200 protesters say the Brotherhood is monopolizing power and that Morsi has exceeded his authority. REUTERS photo

Opponents of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi scuffled with his supporters on Aug.24 during a demonstration that posed the first test of the Islamist leader’s popularity on the street.

Egyptians protested against President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, despite Sheikh Hashem Islam, a member of the Fatwas Committee of Egypt’s highest Islamic authority, Al-Azhar, has preached that confronting those who plan to hit the streets to protest against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi may not be punishable.

About 200 protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square say the Brotherhood is monopolizing power and that Morsi exceeded his authority when he assumed legislative and executive powers in the absence of parliament, according to The Associated press.

Friday’s protests were the first attempt by Mohammed Morsi’s opponents to stage a major demonstration against the new president. But the low turnout was a far cry from the street protests during the uprising that toppled Morsi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. “Who wants to join the 24 August uprising will be against the 25 January Revolution … These people would be committing high treason against their nation, God, his prophet and Muslims, “ Ahram online qouted Al-Azhar cleric Hashem Islam as saying on Aug. 15. “So, I say stand up against them. If they fight you, fight them back … if they kill some of you, the victims will go to heaven, and if you kill them, that would be righteous,” he said.

Egyptians had been nervous that an anti-Morsi protest, flagged for several weeks, could turn violent and in Cairo’s Tahrir Square rival groups hurled stones at each other. Some wielded sticks and charged their opponents. Scenes were calmer in other areas of the city where Morsi’s opponents also gathered. But total numbers across the city were still relatively small by early afternoon, numbering in the hundreds. Protests tend to build later in the day in summer, Reuters reported. 

Activists behind the protest accuse Morsi of seeking to monopolize power after he wrested back powers in August that the military council, which had ruled Egypt for a year and a half, had sought to retain for itself.

Morsi issues law to free news editor

Egypt’s state news agency said the President Mohamed Morsi has issued a law that bans imprisoning journalists pending trial for publishing-related charges, according to the Associated Press.

Morsi intervened to release a newspaper editor jailed over accusations of insulting him on Aug. 24, issuing a law for the first time since he assumed legislative powers earlier this month. Morsi’s ban on detention for journalists accused of publishing-related offenses overrides a court decision earlier in the day ordering newspaper editor Islam Afifi to remain in prison pending trial in September.

Aug. 24’s decree is the first law issued by Morsi since he assumed legislative powers this month in the absence of a parliament, and after he sent the generals with whom he had shared powers into early retirement. 

A Cairo court on Aug. 24 had ordered the editor of the privately-owned el-Dustour daily, Islam Afifi, detained pending trial on charges that his newspaper had insulted Morsi and potentially harmed the public interest. Following Morsi’s decree, official MENA reported that Afifi was ordered released from prison. 

Rights groups had expressed indignation at the court’s decision, saying it betrayed the values of last year’s revolt against Egypt’s longtime former President Hosni Mubarak.

US to Egypt: Open dialogue with Israel

WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Egypt to keep open communication with Israel after the new Cairo government deployed forces to the Sinai Peninsula, the State Department said Aug. 23.
Clinton on Aug. 22 spoke by telephone to Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr as unease grew in Israel over President Mohamed Morsi’s deployment of troops in the Sinai, which was demilitarized under a 1979 peace treaty.

In a message transmitted via the United States due to Israel’s lack of ties with Egypt’s new leaders, Netanyahu demanded that Egypt stop deploying troops without Israeli cooperation in line with the treaty.

“This call was in keeping with a series of contacts that we’ve had in recent days with both Egyptians and Israelis encouraging both sides to keep the lines of communication open between them, to talk directly about any issues of concern,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters. Clinton encouraged a policy that “first and foremost strengthens Egypt’s security but also has a positive impact on the security of neighbors in the region as a whole,” Nuland said.