CAIRO - Egypt's prosecutor ordered the arrest on Wednesday of
the leaders of ousted President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, charging
them with inciting violence that saw 55 of their members shot dead.
week after the army toppled Egypt's first democratically elected leader, the
bloodshed on Monday has opened fissures in the Arab world's most populous
country, with levels of bitterness unseen in its modern
Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said the announcement of
charges against leader Mohamed Badie and several other senior figures was a bid
by authorities to break up a vigil by thousands of Morsi supporters demanding
The leaders were charged with inciting the violence
which began before dawn, when the Brotherhood says its followers were fired on
while peacefully praying. The army says terrorists provoked the shooting by
attacking its troops.
The past week's violence alarmed Western donors and
Israel, which has a 1979 peace treaty with Egypt. Washington, treading a careful
line, has neither welcomed Morsi's removal nor denounced it as a "coup", which
under U.S. law would require it to halt aid including the $1.3 billion it gives
the army each year.
The Brotherhood's downfall has been welcomed by
wealthy Gulf states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which offered
Egypt $8 billion in aid on Tuesday.
The charges against the Brotherhood
leaders were "nothing more than an attempt by the police state to dismantle the
Rabaa protest", Haddad said by telephone from the vigil at Rabaa Adaweya mosque
in northeast Cairo. He said some of the leaders whose arrest was being sought
were at the site of the protest.
"What can we do? In a police state when
the police force are criminals, the judiciary are traitors, and the
investigators are the fabricators, what can one do?" RAMADAN OVERSHADOWED
addition to Badie, prosecutors ordered the arrest of others including his
deputy, Mahmoud Ezzat, and outspoken party leaders Essam El-Erian and Mohamed
The new interim prime minister on Wednesday reached for
liberals to revive
a shattered economy as he began forming a government to try
to heal the bitterly divided nation. Egyptians had hoped the start of the
Ramadan Muslim fasting month would cool passions but it has been overshadowed by rancor.
Hazem el-Beblawi, a 76-year-old economist and former finance
minister named to head the cabinet on Tuesday, told Reuters
he would start
selecting ministers and would begin by meeting liberal politicians Mohamed
ElBaradei and Ziad Bahaa el-Din
Both are prominent figures in the
National Salvation Front, the main secularist group that led protests against Morsi.
Both also support a stalled $4.8 billion loan deal with the
International Monetary Fund, which would require Egypt to make politically
painful reforms to subsidies for food and fuel that support its 84 million
people but drain its finances.
Beblawi accepted that it would be a
challenge to find a cabinet line-up with universal support. "I don't believe
that anything can have unanimous approval," he told Reuters.
we respect the public opinion and we try to comply with the expectation of the
people but there is always a time of choice. There is more than one alternative,
you cannot satisfy all of the people." BROTHERHOOD CONDEMNS "FASCIST COUP"
Brotherhood has said it will have nothing whatsoever to do with a government of
what it calls a "fascist coup".
Beblawi was named prime minister by the
military-backed interim head of state installed after the army removed Morsi.
ElBaradei, a former UN diplomat, has been named vice president. Bahaa el-Din,
a former head of Egypt's investment authority, has been touted for senior
The promised cash, loans and fuel from Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates will go a long way to easing a deep economic crisis that has
worsened during two and a half years of instability since autocrat Hosni Mubarak
was swept from power by a popular revolt.
But the Gulf money could also
reduce the incentive for Egypt to make the subsidy reforms the IMF says are
needed to stabilize public finances, draw investment and rekindle economic
Despite the violence that followed Morsi's removal, the interim
authorities are proceeding with the army's "road map" to restore civilian rule.
On Tuesday they announced a temporary constitution, plans to amend it, and a
timetable for elections beginning in about six months.
already demonstrated the difficulty achieving political consensus, even among Morsi 's opponents. The secularist NSF initially rejected the interim
constitution, as did Islamists and others, although on Wednesday the NSF
withdrew its rejection and issued a new, milder criticism.
indicated he would be open to offering cabinet posts to Islamists, including
Brotherhood figures, although it seems impossible to imagine the Brotherhood
accepting.NOUR PARTY ASCENT
The authorities are courting the approval of
Egypt's second largest Islamist group, the ultra-orthodox Nour Party, to
demonstrate that Islamists will not be repressed as they were for decades under
Nour officially withdrew from politics in response to
Monday's violence but has said it does not object to Beblawi's appointment and
will assist his government.
Nour spokesman Nader Bakkar said on Wednesday
the group would not accept posts in the new cabinet but would offer "consent and
advice to help the cabinet pass through the transition period as soon as
possible and with minimum damages".
"We are waiting to help. We are ready
to advise but for the time being we still take the decision not to participate
in the political process until the judiciary committee gives its report about
what happened (on Monday)." Bloodshed has abated since Monday's incident, the
deadliest since Mubarak's fall, apart from a 2012 soccer stadium
However, there are fears that the political violence could lead to
a breakdown in security, especially in the lawless Sinai peninsula region
Two people were killed and six wounded overnight when
Islamist militants attacked a Sinai checkpoint.
On Tuesday Israeli troops
found the remains of a rocket they believe was fired across the border from