Egypt let the crusades begin

Jun 30, 2013 by

Saladin

CAIRO (AP) — Tens of thousands of opponents of Egypt’s Islamist president massed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in cities around the country Sunday, launching an all-out push to force Mohammed Morsi from office on the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. Fears of violence were high, with Morsi’s Islamist supporters vowing to defend him.

Waving Egyptian flags, crowds packed Tahrir, the birthplace of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, and chants of “erhal!”, or “leave!” rang out.

On the other side of Cairo, thousands of Islamists gathered in a show of support for Morsi outside the Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque near the Ittihadiya presidential palace, which the opposition planned to march on in the evening. Some Morsi backers wore homemade body armor and construction helmets and carried shields and clubs — precautions, they said, against possible violence.

There is a sense among opponents and supporters of Morsi that Sunday is a make-or-break day, hiking worries that the two camps will come to blows, even as each side insists it won’t start violence. Already at least seven people, including an American, have been killed in clashes the past week, mainly in Nile Delta cities and the coastal city of Alexandria.

The demonstrations are the culmination of polarization and instability that have been building since Morsi’s June 30, 2012 inauguration as Egypt’s first freely elected leader. The past year has seen multiple political crises, bouts of bloody clashes and a steadily worsening economy, with power outages, fuel shortages, rising prices and persistent lawlessness and crime.

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A woman holds an Egyptian national flag during a protest …

A woman holds an Egyptian national flag during a protest calling for the ouster of Islamist Presiden …

In one camp are the president and his Islamist allies, including the Muslim Brotherhood and more hard-line groups. They say street demonstrations cannot be allowed to remove a leader who won a legitimate election, and they accuse Mubarak loyalists of being behind the campaign in a bid to return to power. They have argued that for the past year remnants of the old regime have been sabotaging Morsi’s attempts to deal with the nation’s woes and bring reforms.

Hard-liners among them have also given the confrontation a sharply religious tone, denouncing Morsi’s opponents as “enemies of God” and infidels.

via Egypt: Protesters gather to demand Morsi’s ouster – Yahoo! News.

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