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Fear of violence grips Egypt

Egypt was on the edge on Thursday ahead of rival rallies by supporters of Mohammed Morsi and the military-backed protesters, with the army insisting that it was not targeting backers of the ousted Islamist president in its call for or a mass protest to counter ‘terrorism’.
Egypt’s presidency has called for peaceful protests on Friday after defence minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s speech urged Egyptians to empower the army with what he called a popular ‘mandate’to confront ‘violence and terrorism.’

‘We urge citizens to commit to peacefulness, and the state is solely responsible for security,’ Ahmed al-Meslemany, media adviser to Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour, was quoted by Egypt Independent as saying. Also on Thursday, the Supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, called on Egyptians to peacefully make a ‘stand for freedom and legitimacy, and against the bloody coup.’

‘We urge citizens to go out on Friday to protect revolutionary legitimacy and support counter-terrorist efforts,’Meslemany had said on Wednesday. Sisi’s request to obtain a popular ‘mandate’to counter terrorism was dismissed by Islamists as an instigation to civil war between supporters of ousted president Morsi and his opponents.

‘Egypt has begun a war against terrorism, and General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s call protects the revolution and the state,’ Meslemany added. Tensions have been high between security forces and Morsi backers who are demanding his reinstatement.

The past few weeks since Morsi’s removal have seen bloody encounters between security and citizens on one side and Morsi supporters on the other. The Sinai Peninsual has also seen almost-daily attacks on security checkpoints. Reacting to El-Sisi’s call yesterday, the Muslim Brotherhood had announced an anti-coup protests on Friday setting the stage for fresh confrontation between the army and the Islamists.

‘(General Abdel Fattah) El-Sisi’s threats are an announcement of civil war,’said the Muslim Brotherhood-led coalition which has been demanding Morsi’s reinstatement ever since he was ousted from power on July 3 by the army. The Muslim Brotherhood condemned El-Sisi’s call for nationwide rallies as a ‘threat’that would not intimidate them from continuing their protests. The marches will be held in all provinces under the slogan ‘the people want to bring down the coup,’the Muslim Brotherhood-led coalition said in a statement.
Agencies

Agencies

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