Protest against Brotherhood raises more controversy

Debate continued Wednesday among political groups and activists over the merits of the 24 August protest against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsy’s presidency, as some groups announced their participation and others their opposition.

Former MPs Mohamed Abou Hamed and Mostafa Bakry, as well as anti-Brotherhood media host Tawfiq Okasha, had called for protests outside the group’s headquarters in Moqattam and in front of the presidential palace. The protests are to demand Morsy’s fall and the end of the Brotherhood’s political domination. Some Coptic groups have announced that they will participate, while the government promised to respect freedom of expression.

However, the Union of Revolutionary Youth issued a statement Wednesday saying that the protest was called for by supporters of former Prime Minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq as a counter-revolutionary ploy, and accused the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of backing the protest.

The group added that it recognizes Morsy as the legitimately elected president, despite political disagreements with the Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party.

It spokesperson, Tamer al-Qady, added, however, that it is unacceptable to issue a religious edict ordering those protesters to be killed, referring to a recent statement by Al-Azhar official Sheikh Hashem Islam, who was quoted by press reports as urging citizens to fight against the 24 August demonstrators to the death.

The statement also stressed the right to peaceful protest, while denouncing calls to burn Brotherhood offices.

The Coalition of Coptic Egypt has announced that it will participate in the protest. In a statement Wednesday, the groups said that it will protest to stress the goals of the revolution and stress the secular identity of the state, rather than to demand Morsy’s downfall. It added that it would also oppose the domination of state institutions by one political ideology.

The Hayat Party, which has yet to gain official recognition and is led by Coptic activist Mikel Mounir, also announced its participation, saying it would attend the demonstrations to inform the Brotherhood that “the country is not theirs alone.”

Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin said Wednesday that the ministry respects all rights and freedoms, especially the right to peaceful protest.

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