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Tensions in Egypt increase after Army ultimatum to government

By Missing Peace
Largest demonstrations in Egypt's historyLargest demonstrations in Egypt’s history

Since the  army issued an ultimatum in which it gave the Muslim Brotherhood dominated regime 48 hours to reach a power sharing agreement with the opposition, tensions in Egypt have increased significantly. 

The ultimatum came after a weekend of massive, unprecedented protests against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood group from which he hails.

Anti-Morsi supporters have been flocking onto the streets and celebrating the army’s statement in the key focal points of the Ittihadiya palace and Tahrir Square, with many reading it as a sign that Morsi will step-down.

Morsi’s supporters have also taken to the streets in several parts of Egypt, mainly in Rabaa Al-Adaweya square where hundreds of thousands have been holding a sit-in since Friday, to declare their support for the president.

There are reports about the use of arms mainly by MB supporters. Two people have been shot to death, hundreds are injured

 

Below you will find a breakdown of the most important events on the third day of the new uprising in Egypt.

(sources: Reuters, Al Masry Al-Youm, Egypt Daily News, Al Ahram)

 Key events today so far:

  • The 30 June Front, a coalition of a number of key opposition groups, have put forward Mohamed ElBaradei as a spokesman, while the cabinet has selected Prime Minister Hisham Qandil. President Morsi, Qandil and armed forces head Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reportedly met today.
  • Violent clashes since Monday in a number of governorates have led to 152 injuries.
  • A Cairo appeal court on Tuesday morning upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss prosecutor-general Talaat Abdullah, appointed by President Morsi, although it is unclear whether the former prosecutor-general, Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud, will take up the position.
  • The number of ministerial resignations is up to 6, with the resignation of foreign minister Mohamed Kamal Amr, a career diplomat who was originally appointed in 2011 under military council rule. Two presidential spokesmen also resigned.
  • Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II issues a statement praising the anti-Morsi Rebel campaign which spearheaded the weekend’s protests.
  • The April 6 Youth Movement, a key revolutionary group, called on President Morsi to dissolve the Islamist-dominated Shura Council, freeze the constitution and hand over power to the head of the High Constitutional Court who would then set the date for presidential elections within three months.
  • The Egyptian stock market reacted very positively, climbing 5 percent on Tuesday.
  •  Egyptians are currently on the streets in large numbers.
  •  Poll: 73% of Egyptians say Morsy has not made proper decisions
  • Thirty Egyptian tanks were deployed near the Israeli Egyptian border, reportedly in order to prevent violence to spill over into Israel

 

Anti-Morsi demonstrations:

 

  • In Cairo, there are massive anti-Morsi crowds gathered in Tahrir Square, at Ittihadiya presidential palace, and at Qobba presidential palace.
  • There are also anti-Morsi rallies in Alexandria and the governorates of Gharbiya, Sharqiya, Daqahliya, and in the cities of Suez and Port Said.
  • There are some smaller protests, directed against new governors appointed by President Morsi earlier this month, being held at governorate headquarters in Gharbiya, Sharqiya, Assiut and Kafr El-Sheikh.
  •  

Pro-Morsi demonstrations: 

 

  • In Cairo, supporters of the president are still gathered at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City, and there are smaller demonstrations on the other side of the river in Giza.
  • There are demonstrations underway in Ismailiya and Zagazig; both reportedly number in the hundreds.

 

UPDATES

(Tuesday evenning)

 

20:25 Clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi groups in the Kit Kat district of Giza have killed two, according to Ahram Arabic. The two people were killed by “live fire” which also injured another 13 people. The injured have been moved to hospitals in Imbaba and Agouza.
 

20:20 In the vicinity of Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City, quite a long walk from Tahrir Square but a fairly short drive when Egypt’s streets are clear, the president’s supporters gather in their hundreds of thousands, defying the millions of anti-Morsi demonstrators gathered in dozens of squares across Egypt.

It seems the numbers are swelling somewhat. MENA agency reports that a group have left the Rabaa sit-in to form a march to nearby Abbas Al-Akkad avenue, presumably as the space fills up.

MENA also reports that the supporting rally at Cairo University in Egypt’s Giza district is growing as many marches, some led by Islamist MPs, make their way to the area.

20:15 Thousands of pro-Morsi demonstrators took over the Thaqafa Square, the main square in Upper Egypt’s Sohag. Anti-Morsi protesters were pushed to retreat into other streets of the city fearing clashes, reports Ahram Arabic.

20:10 Reports of more clashes are coming in. The Socialist Popular Alliance reports on Twitter that member Mohamed El-Sayyed was shot in the arm during a Brotherhood attack on an opposition in Helwan, south of Cairo.

20:05 Egypt’s sports minister hands in resignation

20:05 Thousands of supporters of President Morsi have gathered in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Assiut in front of Omar Makram Mosque, reported Ahram Arabic. At the same time, hundreds of opponents have started to gather in a demonstration in front of the governorate headquarters.
 

20:00 Egypt’s state news agency MENA reports two major marches have reached a packed Tahrir Square.

19:50 A US State Department spokesperson speaking at a press conference says that reports that the US has been pressing for early presidential elections in Egypt – the main demand of anti-government protesters – are inaccurate. She seems reluctant to commit to one side or the other, commenting that the US government is in contact with all sides – government, military, opposition – and refusing to speculate about any implications for American aid to the country.
 

19:40 Egyptian television is showing images of Qobba presidential palace in Cairo, where hundreds of thousands have gathered. Fireworks are lighting up the sky.

19:35 The headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in the city of Banha in the northern governorate of Qalioubiya was burnt after it was stormed by anti-Morsi protestors. The contents of the headquarters were destroyed and the banner that carries the name of the party was removed, reports Ahram Arabic.

19:27 There are a number of reports coming in of gunfire in Kit Kat Square in Giza.  Ahram Online’s Sherif Tarek reported hearing gunfire in Nile Street in Agouza, in Giza, while Ahram Arabic website reports clashes using pellets and Molotov cocktails in two separate places: Bein Al-Sarayat district in Giza, and Kit Kat.

19:25 In a statement issued at 4pm, the Islamist Wasat Party – one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s staunchest allies – talked about the “angry, legitimate mobilisation of the people” and warned against plans by “enemies of the nation” to “hijack” their movement.

The party also acknowledged what they said were failures by the ruling regime to manage economic problems, and blamed the anti-government media for angering Egyptians. The statement called for supporting “constitutional legitimacy” and expressed its reservations about the army’s entry into political affairs.

19:20 Anti-Morsi marches are heading to Tahrir Square from Shubra district and from Mostafa Mahmoud Square in the district of Mohandeseen. 

19:15  The anti-Morsi Rebel campaign has released a statement saying that it has nominated three of its members to participate in the negotiations called for by the armed forces to set a new road map. Mahmoud Badr, Hassan Shahin and Mohamed Abdel-Aziz are the three members nominated.

Member of the Rebel’s central committee, Mona Selim, announced that 90 percent of the campaign’s organising committee have agreed to participate in the negotiations, declaring them “a dialogue for handing over power”.

The campaign’s proposed roadmap stipulates that power is handed over to head of the High Constitutional Court (HCC) and a new technocrat government is formed.

19:10 Dozens were reportedly injured in clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters in the seaside town of of El-Agamy, east of Alexandria, where police forces are attempting to contain the clashes, reports Ahram Arabic news website.