Calls for Peace, Inclusion in Cairo as Tension Runs High in the Streets

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Common Dreams

Calls for Peace, Inclusion in Cairo as Tension Runs High in the Streets

Clashes between military, pro- and anti-Morsi supporters leaves country in state of chaos

by
Lauren McCauley, staff writer

UPDATE: 1:46 PM EST

According to sources close to the presidency, former UN nuclear watchdog chief and Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei was chosen as Egypt's interim prime minister and will be sworn in later Saturday.

Al Jazeera reports:

The Tamarod (rebellion) campaign had nominated ElBaradei to represent the movement in transition negotiations with the military.

A senior official in the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing, said he rejected ElBaradei's appointment.

EARLIER

After a night of fierce fighting during which the Egyptian military opened fire on crowds of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, the former ruling Muslim Brotherhood party announced another day of protests Saturday despite growing calls for peace.

"The masses will continue their civilized protests and peaceful sit-ins in Cairo until the military coup is reversed and the legitimate president is restored," announced the Islamist coalition in a statement Saturday.

Clashes between the military and the Morsi supporters across the country Friday evening left 30 dead and more than 1,100 injured.

Reporting from Cairo, Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous writes that the military's crackdown on the Brotherhood, in the wake of what many are calling a coup d'etat, recalls elements of Egypt's former Mubarek.

Though many are calling for the Muslim Brotherhood's inclusion in a new coalition government, the group released a statement denouncing the "military coup staged against the elected president," adding: “We refuse to participate in any activities with the usurping authorities.”

In his report on the increasingly tense situation in Cairo, Kouddous notes:

With the largest political group in Egypt thrust outside of the political scene, and fears of a violent backlash from more militant Islamist groups, many fear a return to an entrenched authoritarianism. “They’re clamping down on Islamists, and once they are firmly in power they will go after anyone else who speaks out,” said the leading Brotherhood member. “They took advantage of the people’s opposition to Morsi to return Mubarak’s regime.”

If recent history is any indication, continued authoritarianism in Egypt will only be met with more mass mobilizations and revolutionary calls for change.

A spokesman for the United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon quoted him saying, "There is no place for retribution or for the exclusion of any major party or community," Al Jazeera reports.

According to media outlets, Friday evening a crowd of Morsi supporters marched from Nasr City, in Cairo, to the Maspero state TV building and "clashed with anti-Morsi protesters"on the 6th October Bridge.

Gun shots were heard and "people were seen throwing rocks as the two sides advanced and retreated in turn on the bridge near Tahrir Square."

Other skirmishes between the two groups sprang up throughout both Cairo and Alexandria. As AFP reports:

At least 12 people were killed in Alexandria as Morsi's supporters and opponents fought in the streets, the official MENA news agency said.

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, at least two people were killed when Morsi supporters traded fire with his opponents, state television reported.

[...]

Four protesters were killed outside the Republican Guard headquarters after breaking away from a pro-Morsi demonstration, MENA reported.

MENA also said that 12 people were killed in Alexandria.

“Tension is running high again in downtown Cairo, especially in Tahrir Square after a festive 48 hours following the ousting of former president Mohammed Morsi, with a lot of Egyptians, perhaps in the opposition, thinking that the Islamist camp was done with,” writes Gallagher Fenwick, AFP's correspondent in Egypt.

“But the Islamists have proved that they are very determined and that they will follow through with their promise to stay in the streets until their president returns,” he added.

The youth-led Tamrod, or Rebel, movement is reportedly urging their supporters to take to the streets again on Sunday to defend what they call the "gains of June 30," referring to the start of the massive protests which led to the eventual ouster of President Morsi.

Facing a fiercly divided nation, the country's acting president Adly Mansour held a number of meetings Saturday with military and government leaders—including army chief and Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi as well as Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim, who is in charge of the police—as well as leaders of Tamrod, AP reports.

See below for live tweets on the developing situation:

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