Muslim Brotherhood planning counter-protest after Egyptian military leader calls for mass rallies

Brotherhood leader Badie, whom authorities accuse of inciting violence, says the demonstrations will continue until Morsi is reinstated.

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Muslim Brotherhood responded to the call by Egyptian army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday for mass demonstrations against “violence” and “terrorism” by telling its supporters to hold a counter-protest.
Sisi called the pro-regime protests for Friday to give the army a mandate to take action against terrorism, particularly in the Sinai region, but it was interpreted by his opponents as a call for a crackdown on former president Mohamed Morsi’s supporters, including the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamic groups.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s top official, Mohamed Badie, called on Morsi’s supporters to hold a counter-protest on Friday.
Badie, whom authorities accuse of inciting violence, said the demonstrations would continue until Morsi is reinstated.
Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said at a news conference on Wednesday that “the threats made by Sisi, leader of the military coup, are nothing short of a full call for civil war and a warning that massacres – widespread massacres – will be held under a false cover of popular support.”
The military’s spokesman, Ahmed Mohamed Ali, responded to the criticism by saying that Sisi’s call for a protest is not a call for violence.
More than 100 people have died in political violence since the overthrow of Morsi.
The Tamarod (“Rebel”) movement, which was behind the June 30 protests that toppled Morsi, said it will support the protests called for Friday by the army chief.
In a reflection of how deep the divides are within Egyptian society, even some anti-Morsi groups such as the April 6 Youth Movement and the Revolutionary Socialists oppose the army-backed protests because they feel that they are unnecessary.
“Our armed forces do not need popular delegation to perform its patriotic duties of preserving security and resisting violence with the rule of law [and] without resorting to any arbitrary measures,” the April 6 Youth Movement said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Revolutionary Socialists organization said it would not give the army a “blank check to commit massacres.”
Also on Thursday, adding to the high tensions and tense security situation, Egypt’s prosecutor- general ordered the arrest of nine Brotherhood leaders and allies of the group, including its leader, Badie, for inciting violence, according to Ahram Online.