Egyptian Salafi preacher and presidential hopeful Hazem Abu Ismail urged his supporters early Monday to join protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to “achieve the goals of the January revolution.”
Clashes in the square and nearby streets in downtown Cairo have continued since Saturday, when police forces violently dispersed a sit-in by protesters, mainly people injured in the January uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in February.
So far 13 people have reportedly been killed in the clashes, which are also taking place in other governorates. Hundreds were injured, including policemen.
Abu Ismail faced scathing criticism when he failed to attend the sit-in he called for following a mass demonstration on Friday at the square. He and his supporters were accused of leaving behind the families of those killed and the protesters injured in the January uprising, who were cruelly handled by the police forces, which led to the ongoing violence.
“Elections are a red line; it is either us or the military council if they are canceled or postponed,” said Abu Ismail, who arrived at the square late on Sunday.
Some observers believe that of the six presidential candidates, Abu Ismail is the toughest critic of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and is known for his highly critical stance on the military junta's policies.
Translated from the Arabic Edition