Egypt braces for Friday protests, counter-protests

Egyptian media personalitie call for demonstrations and a fresh "mandate"

Egypt braces for Friday protests, counter-protests
World Bulletin / News Desk
 Some Egyptian media personalities are calling on backers of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to stage protests on Friday to give the president a fresh mandate to fight "terrorism."

They reminded the public of an invitation al-Sisi made in July of 2013 when he was defense minister. Al-Sisi asked Egyptians to hit the streets to give him a mandate to fight what he described then as "potential terrorism."

Millions of people took to the streets a few days later to offer the army leader the public mandate he demanded.

A few days ago, some Egyptian media personalities sought to repeat the same scene on Egypt's streets and public squares.

The call for demonstrations and a fresh "mandate" was first made by media anchor Ahmed Moussa, who hosts a talk show on private Sada al-Balad TV.

Moussa issued his invitation for the Friday protests a few days ago, hours after al-Sisi appeared on television following a series of deadly attacks on military sites in the Sinai Peninsula.

The attacks left more than 30 people dead and scores of others injured.

"We must all go out on the streets," Moussa said. "I don't say our numbers must be ten million, but we must be on the streets in the millions."

Some of the movements backing al-Sisi received the invitation with open arms. They, too, invited Egyptians to take to the streets to express support for the army and the Interior Ministry in their "war against terrorism."

"Our campaign will encourage the public to support the president in his war against terrorism," Khaled al-Adawi, coordinator of the pro-Sisi "Kamel" ("Go ahead") campaign, said.

He said there would be protests in Tahrir Square, the iconic center of the revolution against ex-President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

A coordinator of the pro-Sisi Tamarod ("Rebellion") movement also said that his movement had invited the public to stage protests on Friday to express support for the army and the Interior Ministry.

"The people who will take part in the protests will not be affiliated with any political party," Mohamed Hussein told The Anadolu Agency.

"They will be ordinary Egyptians who know the importance of backing the state against terrorism," he added.

Egypt has been hard hit by terrorist attacks, both in Sinai and in other parts of Egypt. Apart from the latest coordinated attacks on military sites in Sinai, bomb blasts have become a common occurrence in Egypt.

Some of these blasts – that take place everywhere in the country these days – leave human casualties. They mainly target police, police facilities and public offices.

The authorities accuse the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement from which ousted President Mohamed Morsi hails, of standing behind the blasts.

The movement, for its part, denies the charge, underlining its unwavering belief in peaceful activism.

The National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, Morsi's main support bloc, meanwhile, called on the ousted president's backers to stage protests on Friday as well.

It said in a statement that Morsi's supporters should take to the streets to reject what it called the "mandate for killing."

"Al-Sisi, who received a mandate previously, must know that Egyptians will not be led into becoming part of a new round of infighting," the alliance said.

Morsi was ousted by the army in July of 2013 after mass protests against his government. Since then, his backers, who call his ouster a "military coup," continue to stage protests to demand his reinstatement.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Şubat 2015, 17:13