News Column

Muslim Brotherhood Vows to Reinstate Morsi

July 5, 2013

The head of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said Friday that followers of the powerful group would camp out across the nation to press for the reinstatement of the Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the army earlier in the week.

"All the measures taken (by the army) are invalid," said Mohammed Badie at a massive rally held in Morsi's support in Cairo.

"Morsi is the president of Egypt. He is your supreme commander," he added in a reference to the army. "The millions supporting Morsi will stay in the squares until the president of Egypt is reinstated."

The former president's backers staged huge protests across Egypt, where fighting between Morsi supporters and opponents have raised fears of deadly street violence in the Arab world's most populous country.

The Health Ministry said that two civilians were killed outside an army building and at a pro-Morsi rally in Cairo, without giving details.

Brotherhood's followers said the deaths occurred after the army troops had opened fire at Islamists gathering outside the headquarters of the elite Republic Guard, where the ousted president is believed to be held.

However, state television quoted a security source as denying the army had shot at the demonstrators. "The troops shot sound bullets in the air, forcing the demonstrators to retreat," said the unnamed source. "No one was killed or injured."

As Badie was speaking, army helicopters flew over the rally in the quarter of Nasr City in eastern Cairo.

"We will not be discouraged by threats, detentions or prisons," he said in the fiery speech - his first since Morsi's ouster on Wednesday.

The army has arrested several Brotherhood leaders in the past three days allegedly for inciting violence against Morsi's opponents.

Badie, who is the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood to which Morsi belongs, denied media reports he had been arrested.

"What has been circulated about this is misleading," he told his supporters who were holding the national flag and Morsi's portraits.

In the Nile Delta province of Beheira, police fired tear gas to break up clashes between rival protesters, reported local media. At least 10 people were injured.

There were also clashed in al-Arish, a city in the Sinai Peninsula near Israel. A police car was torched in the violence.

Interim President Adli Mansour on Friday dissolved the Islamist-dominated Shura Council, which served as a temporary legislature, state television reported.

Mansour appointed Refaat Shehata, the outgoing chief of the intelligence service, as a presidential advisor on security. He named Mohamed Farid as new intelligence chief.

Gunmen, meanwhile, attacked army and police checkpoints in Sinai, killing one soldier and injuring three others, a security official said.

The attacks prompted Egyptian authorities to indefinitely close the Rafah border crossing with the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Troops deployed in Suez and South Sinai provinces were put on maximum alert following the assaults.

The African Union Peace and Security Council has suspended Egypt from the 54-nation bloc, citing an unconstitutional power grab in the North African nation.

Cairo said it "deeply regretted" the bloc's decision. "We deeply regret this decision, which has been taken on the basis of unrealistic information," said spokesman for Foreign Ministry Badr Abdel-Atti.

The army's removal of Morsi followed unprecedented protests at the weekend by millions of Egyptians to demand he step down.

The Brotherhood has called Morsi's ouster a "military coup" and vowed to boycott a national dialogue called for by the interim president who was sworn in on Thursday.

Morsi became Egypt's first democratically elected president last year after winning the polls with a narrow margin.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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