Friday, November 23, 2012

Egypt groups to maintain sit-in until President Morsi withdraws decree

By Joseph Mayton
Bikya Masr

"CAIRO: Egyptian activists have announced they would remain in Cairo’s Tahrir Square until President Mohamed Morsi withdraws his presidential decree that ostensibly grants him unlimited power.
The National Assembly for Change has urged other political groups, parties and movements, to join the sit-in in Tahrir as a show of force against what they called a power grab that places Morsi above the rule of law.
Around a dozen tents have been erected in the center of the square by early morning Saturday and protesters appear determined to push on with their demonstration until Morsi makes changes.
The Assembly said it is disappointed by the recent moves made by Morsi concerning the drafting of the constitution and said they would not stand by and allow the president to take as much power as ousted President Hosni Mubarak had until he was ousted in a popular uprising in January 2011.
Day of Rage turns to day of clashes
Over 170 Egyptian protesters have been injured in ongoing violence in downtown Cairo on Qasr el-Aini street leading to the iconic Tahrir Square, the ministry of health reported.
Activists and field hospital officials believe the number to be dramatically higher.
According to volunteer doctors at field hospitals scattered around the frontlines, the injuries consist mainly of tear gas inhalation, however many of those being wounded have “been shot by rubber bullets.”
The violence, which is the continuation of the previous four days, increased in dramatic fashion on Friday afternoon, following anger over President Mohamed Morsi’s constitutional declarations that activists say has left the country in the hands of the ultra-conservatives and silences those who fought for freedom during the January 2011 uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.
According to the ministry of interior’s Facebook page, Minister Ahmed Ibrahim reportedly ordered police officers to be “patient” and “to work” with the different revolutionary powers. He also said on state television that no tear gas had been fired into Tahrir Square, where tens of thousands have gathered into the evening, saying they will not leave and have begun an open-ended sit-in demanding change in the country.
The ministry said that police arrested 210 protesters, 85 of whom were transferred to the prosecution’s office and are being held pending investigation for 15 days, and 45 under aged youth were released and had been given to the custody of their parents.
Morsi, for his part, spoke to the nation on Friday afternoon as violence spiraled into chaos in downtown Cairo, telling the country that “thugs” were responsible for the violence. State television also reported that nobody was in Tahrir Square, which online activists said was the same tactic used by the Mubarak government on January 25, 2011, when protests that eventually ousted him from power erupted.
Many believe this could be the beginning of a second uprising that is already demanding the end of Morsi’s rule.
Both makeshift hospitals inside al-Dobarah church and Tal’at Harb street both confirmed the arrival of people shot with rubber bullets. doctors said following an early evening attack that Bikyamasr.com saw 8 protesters arrive with rubber bullet wounds near Qasr el-Aini street, while doctors in Tala’at Harb said about 7 cases were reported......."

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