An Islamist alliance backing Egypt’s toppled president Mohammad Mursi has called for new mass protests amid reports that authorities will soon embark on clearing two large pro-Mursi vigils in Cairo.
“The Egyptian people will not allow anyone among the coup plotters to attack the peaceful demonstrators in Raba’a Al Adawiya and Al Nahda,” the pro-Mursi National Alliance in Solidarity of Legitimacy said Monday.
Thousands of Mursi’s supporters have been camping for more than a month in the two locations in north-eastern and southern Cairo, demanding his reinstatement after the army deposed him on July 3 following massive street protests against his one-year-old presidency.
The military-backed government has vowed to end the two sit-ins, saying they pose a threat to national security. “The Egyptian people will not stand handcuffed towards these bloody acts,” added the alliance, led by Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Security sources have said that the police will start after the holiday of Eid Al Fitr festival that ended Sunday to take steps to disperse the protesters in Raba’a Al Adawiya and Al Nahda Square.
The steps include besieging the protesters, denying them access to food and water, setting up safe exit for those willing to leave and using water cannon and sound bullets to evacuate the die-hards, according to the sources.
In a defiant reaction, the pro-Mursi alliance has said it will hold mass rallies in Cairo on Monday and Tuesday, raising fears of clashes with opponents. The alliance has stepped up such rallies in the past few days, warning that using force to disperse its camping supporters will result in high casualties.
Nearly 300 people, mainly Mursi’s loyalists, have been killed since the Islamist president’s ouster.
“The soldiers of the great Egyptian army and the police are urged not to attack their peaceful brethren, blockading them or shedding their blood,” said the alliance. It added that Mursi’s reinstatement “holds the key” to ending the political stand-off in Egypt.
The Brotherhood has condemned the army’s removal of Mursi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, as a military coup and vowed to persist protesting until he is restored to power.
The Islamist group has also rejected a call from Shaikh Al Azhar Ahmad Al Tayyeb, Egypt’s top Islamic cleric, for holding reconciliation talks demanding him first to “clear himself” of backing Mursi’s toppling.
Al Tayyeb and Coptic Pope Tawadross II gave public support to the army’s overthrow of Mursi and a roadmap including early parliamentary and presidential elections.