Saturday, July 30, 2011

Islamist groups hijack Egypt's 'unity' protest

From Aljazeera, 30 Jul 2011:

Islamist groups take over "Friday of Unity" march, forcing secular parties to boycott protest movement.

Egypt's secular groups have said they no longer support the protest movement and have withdrawn their support after Islamist groups hijacked Friday's protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

The secularists' boycott came as tens of thousands of people gathered on Friday to demonstrate in what had been dubbed "The Friday of Unity and the People's Will" march.

...The assistant head of the Wafd Party, the oldest and largest secular party, urged the Muslim Brotherhood to come out and declare that it had no intentions of forming an Islamic state.
Several banners reading "Islamic law above the constitution" were displayed in Tahrir Square and protesters who fear Islamists will seek to dominate plans to rewrite the constitution demanded the banners be taken down. Similar tensions emerged in Suez.

...Separately, in the northern town of Arish, armed men attacked a police station, killing one police officer and wounding three police men, said Al Jazeera's correspondent Mohyeldin.Two civilians were also critically wounded in the attack.

Earlier in the day, masked gunmen fired in the air near a demonstration, wounding civilians.
In Tahrir Square, protesters massed before the start of Muslim prayers at noon and religious chants such as "There is no God but God" and "Islamiya, Islamiya" rang out.

"There are so many [Islamic] beards. We certainly feel imposed upon," said Samy Ali, 23, student in Tahrir, adding Salafists had tried to separate women and men camping there.
Islamists and more liberal groups have diverged on how hard to press the ruling generals for change.But the debate over the constitution, due to be re-written after parliament is elected this year, has also been divisive.
More liberal groups fear the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's best organised grouping, and other Islamists will dominate the vote and so be able to push for a more Islamic-leaning constitution.

"[There are] troubling signs that the 'Friday of Unity' may soon turn into a 'Friday of Division'. Let's hope that's not the case," wrote Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha Center on Twitter...
Post a Comment