Supporters of ousted former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi called more rallies yesterday to demand his reinstatement, amid last-ditch efforts for reconciliation ahead of a threatened crackdown on protests.
Morsi loyalists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, have kept up two huge protest camps in Cairo to protest against the Islamist president’s ouster by the Egyptian military on July 3.
They say nothing short of his reinstatement will persuade them to disperse, despite several warnings by the interim leaders that the camps will be dismantled after the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which was to end yesterday.
In a sign of the mounting tensions, a brief overnight power cut at the main sit-in outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque struck panic among the pro-Morsi demonstrators, with some taking to social media to announce that the assault had begun.
Protest organizers told reporters that as the electricity went out, they reinforced their barricades, added sandbags to the entrances of the protest site and sent volunteers to find out what was happening, only to be told it was a false alarm.
The main coalition of Morsi supporters, the Anti-Coup Alliance, said 10 marches were to set off from various parts of the capital yesterday “to defend the electoral legitimacy” of Egypt’s first freely elected president.
The call for fresh rallies comes as the al-Azhar mosque, Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning, called for reconciliation talks in the latest of a string of attempts to find a peaceful solution to the political deadlock.
Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb is to begin contacts with political factions today aimed at convincing them to sit down to talks later this week, state media reported.
“Al-Azhar has been studying all the proposals for reconciliation put forward by political and intellectual figures ... to come up with a compromise formula for all Egyptians,” Tayeb’s adviser, Mahmud Azab, told the state-owned al-Ahram newspaper.
However, the Muslim Brotherhood is unlikely to accept such an invitation after al-Azhar sided with the military over Morsi’s ouster.
Tayeb appeared with Egyptian Supreme Commander Abdel Fattah el-Sisi when he announced on July 3 that Morsi had been deposed and laid out a political roadmap for a transition, which provides for new elections next year.
The interim leadership is now under immense pressure at home to crack down on the pro-Morsi protests, and immense pressure from the international community to avoid bloodshed.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
Taiwanese-independence advocates yesterday accused former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of breaking national security laws and called on the judiciary to investigate after his statement that “China will wage a battle, which will be quick and will be the last battle for Taiwan.” Ma showed his true colors “as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party” in his speech on Monday when he said the “first battle will be the last,” Taiwan Republic Office (台灣國辦公室) director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵) said. “Ma is threatening Taiwanese by claiming that Beijing will launch a quick invasion of Taiwan, but that the US military will have no
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.