Clashes in Egypt during anti-Morsi protest kills two

Two killed after protesters storm Brotherhood's Alexandria office, adding to tensions ahead of rallies aimed to unseat president.

By REUTERS
June 29, 2013 10:33
Morsi supporters protest around the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in Cairo, June 28, 2013.

Morsi supporters in Cairo 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghan)

Some speakers reflected fear and anger among Islamists that opponents aim to suppress them as Mubarak did. But there was also talk from the podium of the need for dialogue - a concern also of international powers worried by the bitter polarization.

A few hundred opposition protesters gathered outside the presidential palace, a focus for Sunday's rally. Morsi has moved elsewhere. Thousands turned out after dark in Tahrir Square, waving national flags and sampling street food.

Abdelhamid Nada, a 32-year-old accountant, had come from the provinces with eight friends to camp out "until Morsi goes". "The Muslim Brotherhood has no plan at all," he said, standing by his white tent. "They don't have any economic plan, they don't have any social plan, they don't have any political plan."

STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE

The army, which heeded mass protests in early 2011 to push Mubarak aside, has warned it will intervene again if there is violence, and to defend the "will of the people". Both sides believe that means the military may support their positions.

The United States, which funds Egypt's army as it did under Mubarak, has urged compromise and respect for election results. Egypt's 84 million people, control of Suez and its peace treaty with Israel all contribute to its global strategic importance.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged Egyptians to respect "universal principles of peaceful dialogue". European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called for peaceful protests, building trust and a "spirit of dialogue and tolerance".

In Alexandria, opposition marchers said they feared the Brotherhood was usurping the revolution to entrench its power and Islamic law. Others had economic grievances, among them huge lines for fuel caused by supply problems and panic buying.

"I've nothing to do with politics, but with the state we're in now, even a stone would cry out," said 42-year-old accountant Mohamed Abdel Latif. "There are no services, we can't find diesel or gasoline. We elected Morsi, but this is enough.

"Let him make way for someone else who can fix it."

It is hard to gauge how many may turn out on Sunday, but even those sympathetic to Islamic ideas are frustrated by the economic slump and many blame the government.

Previous protest movements since the fall of Mubarak have failed to gather momentum, however, among a population anxious for stability and fearful of further economic hardship.

Travel warning for Israelis

Israel's Foreign Ministry on Friday issued a warning to Israelis not to travel to Egypt. The warning recommended avoiding traveling to Egypt and urged Israelis in the country to reconsider the continuation of their stay there.

Those who wish to remain in the country were asked to stay up to date with recent security developments, to follow instructions from authorities, and to avoid large crowds.

JPost.com staff contributed to this report.


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