Egypt’s opposition gives president one day to quit


Tue, Jul 02, 2013 - Page 1

Egypt’s opposition yesterday gave Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a day to quit or face civil disobedience after deadly protests were held to demand the country’s first democratically elected president step down after just a year in office.

“We give Mohamed Morsi until 5pm on Tuesday July 2 to leave power, allowing state institutions to prepare for early presidential elections,” the Tamarod movement said in a statement on its Web site.

Otherwise, on “Tuesday, 5pm will be the beginning of a complete civil disobedience campaign,” it added.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health said 16 people died in nationwide protests, including eight in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi outside the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood party that he is a part of.

Another three people died in the central province of Assiut and one each in Fayoum, Beni Sueif and Kafr el-Sheikh provinces.

One protester suffocated to death at a rally outside the presidential palace in Cairo and another died of wounds in the coastal city of Alexandria, the ministry said.

Protesters yesterday set the Brotherhood’s headquarters ablaze before storming and ransacking it, a correspondent reported.

A senior government official said that four ministers had tendered their resignations to Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil.

Yesterday’s resignations were a further blow to Morsi, who since coming to power has battled with the judiciary, the media and the police.

Tamarod is a campaign which says it collected more than 22 million signatures to a petition declaring a lack of confidence in Morsi. It was behind Sunday’s protests that saw millions of people demand his departure on the first anniversary of his inauguration.

As Morsi stood firm and insisted the only way forward was dialogue, calls for army intervention increased.

Opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi urged military intervention if Morsi refused to quit.

“The armed forces must act, because they have always been on the side of the people” which “has expressed its will,” said Sabbahi, who came third in last year’s presidential election.

The best outcome would be for Morsi to go willingly, he added.

However, Morsi’s spokesman Ehab Fahmy told reporters: “Dialogue is the only way through which we can reach an understanding... The presidency is open to a real and serious national dialogue.”

Morsi, previously a senior Brotherhood leader, is Egypt’s first freely elected president, catapulted to power by the uprising that ended three decades under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

His opponents accuse him of betraying the revolution by concentrating power in the Islamists hands and of sending the economy into freefall.