Morsy condemns violent Egypt protests

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: President Morsy says those tied to violence "will not escape punishment"
  • He calls for dialogue, but doesn't take back his edict or the constitutional vote date
  • Crowd tries to storm Egyptian president's home; 26 hurt, 8 arrested
  • U.S. watching events in Cairo with "growing concern," Hillary Clinton says

Cairo (CNN) -- Egyptian President Mohamed didn't back off the controversial edict he had issued or the upcoming constitutional referendum, saying Thursday night that he respects peaceful opposition to his decisions but won't stand for violence.

Addressing "those who oppose me" and his supporters, Morsy condemned those involved in recent clashes -- referring specifically to those armed with weapons and who are backed and funded by members of the "corrupt ... ex-regime" -- and promised they'd be held accountable.

"(They) will not escape punishment," the president said in his televised speech.

The scenes playing out around Cairo and elsewhere in the North African nation resemble those of the 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of then President Hosni Mubarak, said Hasan Amin.

That includes thugs with knives and rocks chasing down protesters, presidential backers belittling opponents, and pressure from various quarters for protesters to go home and be quiet.

An anti-Mohamed Morsy protester shouts during a march to the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday, December 6. An anti-Mohamed Morsy protester shouts during a march to the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday, December 6.
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>

"It's exactly the same battle," said Amin, a CNN iReporter.

A November 22 edict by Morsy, in which he made his decisions immune to judicial oversight until a new constitution is voted upon, set off the latest wave of political unrest. And it's been growing -- and growing more violent -- in recent days.

Ahead of the president's speech, opposition leaders were specific in what would mollify them: Morsy would have to roll back his edict granting himself expanded presidential powers and postpone the scheduled December 15 referendum on a proposed constitution, one which they say doesn't adequately represent or protect all Egyptians.

Morsy, though he talked of the need for dialogue, didn't appear to budge on either front. Barring any unexpected change, he said his edict will remain in effect through when the referendum's results are known.

This fact did not sit well with the throngs of opposition activists camped out in Cairo's Tahrir Square, who directed chants at Morsy of "Leave! Leave! Leave!"

iReport: Bloody clashes around Egyptian Presidential palace

While they were upset by what the president said, the remarks themselves weren't surprising. Morsy previously had defended the edict as necessary to defend the revolution and his administration has insisted the referendum will go ahead as planned.

But protesters haven't bought that argument, accusing the president of consolidating power for himself and the Muslim Brotherhood, the powerful Islamist organization whose political party that Morsy once led. They've said they're committed to forcing the president to bend to the will of the people, as happened in 2011.

"This is not what we asked for," one protester said. "It's a complete dictatorship."

About 40 miles north of Cairo, a crowd tried to storm Morsy's home in Zagazig, according to the Interior Ministry. Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd and at least 20 protesters and six police officers were injured.

Read more: Q&A: What's driving Egypt's unrest?

Police arrested eight people. The suspects were carrying swords and clubs, the ministry said. Morsy was not there at the time.

In the Maadi neighborhood of Cairo, someone also damaged the offices of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ministry said.

The scene was calm, but tense, outside the presidential palace in Cairo, where the military parked tanks and armored personnel carriers, put up barbed-wire barricades and deployed soldiers.

The area resembled a war zone. Piles of rubble and burned cars littered the streets. The doors of nearby storefronts were smashed in.

Opposition groups marched towards the area chanting "Down with Morsy" and other slogans Thursday night, ahead of Morsy's speech, according to the semi-official al-Ahram newspaper.

On Thursday, Morsy suffered another defection from his inner circle. Rafik Habib, the deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, resigned, party spokesman Ahmed Sobe said. Habib did not give a reason.

His resignation brings to five the number of presidential advisers who have left in the last two days. It is the first, however, from the Freedom and Justice Party.

Read more: Egyptian media strikes against President Morsy

Adviser Amr Ellissy said Wednesday on Twitter that he resigned "in protest of the constitutional declaration and the fact that I was not consulted in making these decisions."

Egyptian judges and media organizations also have staged strikes to show their displeasure with the situation.

Vice President Mahmoud Mekki on Wednesday asked critics to submit their proposals for improving the constitution.

Opposition leaders will talk with Morsy if he withdraws his decree and delays the referendum, said Mohamed ElBaradei, leader of the liberal Constitution Party and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Muslim Brotherhood officials seemed less inclined to bargain.

Muslim Brotherhood Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein said Thusday protesters weren't interested in democracy. He accused them of using "crude and contemptible ways of expression, rather than (putting) their points across in a civilized manner."

Meanwhile, the blame game over who is responsible for the violence continued.

"We hold opposition figures ... fully responsible for escalation of violence & inciting their supporters," the Muslim Brotherhood said on Twitter.

On Thursday, 11 organizations representing lawyers, journalists, writers, actors, musicians and tour guides said Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood were behind the violence, al-Ahram reported.

The group said it would call for Morsy's ouster if the administration failed to protect protesters and "fulfill the aspirations of the January 25 revolution," the newspaper said.

Because Egypt is a key player in the unstable Middle East and North Africa, what happens there has important ramifications far beyond its borders, and is being followed closely worldwide.

"We have been watching the events unfolding in Cairo with growing concern," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday while attending a security conference in Dublin, Ireland. "The upheaval we are seeing once again in the streets of Cairo and other cities indicates that dialogue is urgently needed."

Are you there? Share your story but stay safe. Read a version of this story in Arabic.

Reza Sayah and Ian Lee reported from Cairo; Michael Pearson reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Saad Abedine and Amir Ahmed and journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy also contributed to this report.

0
Comments »
  • Print
  • Email
  • More sharing
By CapitalBay Online 12/06/2012 08:34:00

Socialize

@Capitalbay1 You can follow the latest updates on Twitter, Capitalbay News website

ENTERTAINMENT

'I feel sexy and confident': Size 22 model Monif Clarke revealed as the face of new swimwear line

Monif Clarke was first inspired to start her clothing line 10 years ago, when she struggled to find fashionable clothes to fit her size 16

Harrison Ford survives with a broken ankle and pelvis after engine fails on his WW2 plane and he crash lands on golf course to avoid homes

True to the heroes he plays on the big screen, a calm and collected Harrison Ford glided his airplane into a crash landing on a

Amber Rose brings the attention back to her with racy selfie after rival Kim Kardashian's attention-grabbing platinum blonde moment

Kim Kardashian undeniably received a lot of attention on Thursday after unveiling her platinum blonde hair at Paris Fashion Week, pretty much breaking the internet

Kim Kardashian Goes Platinum Blonde: See Her Dramatic New Look!

Khloé isn’t the only blonde Kardashian anymore. Kim Kardashian West debuted platinum hair in Paris on Thursday, and we have a feeling her husband helped

Jessie James Decker Is Pregnant With Second Baby

Jessie James Decker is pregnant!The country singer and reality star announced in an Instagram post Monday that she and husband Eric Decker are expecting their

DWTS Mystery Contestant Revealed: It's Bachelor Chris Soules!

It takes two to tango!After Chris Soules gives out his final rose on The Bachelor finale, he'll partner up with a different woman as the

The moment ABC Family's The Fosters made TV history by showing two 13-year-old boys lock lips in the youngest ever gay kiss on-screen

ABC Family drama The Fosters has made history after featuring the youngest ever same-sex kiss on U.S. television.Characters Jude and Connor, both 13, locked lips

Recent Comments

SUBSCRIBE MAILING LIST

By subscribing You will recieve our latest news. Your information will not be shared with anyone.


cron