Middle East

Egypt Islamists to rally on Saturday for Mursi

Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)

CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood and hardline Salafi parties will hold protests across Egypt on Saturday in support of President Mohamed Mursi, who is facing a wave of unrest over a decree that expanded his powers.

Mahmoud Ghozlan, the Brotherhood spokesman, told Reuters: "We have called for pro-Mursi nationwide protests. The exact locations of the protests are currently being discussed."

Salah Abdel Maboud, a leading member of the Salafi Nour Party, confirmed Islamists would stage protests on Saturday. He said the location could be Tahrir Square, where Mursi's opponents have been camped out for seven consecutive days.

But Nader Bakkar, the Nour Party's spokesman, told Reuters both the Nour Party and its founder the Salafi Call would steer clear of Tahrir Square.

"We do not want to enter into conflict with anyone," Bakkar said.

The Brotherhood, Egypt's most organised and popular Islamist group, had previously cancelled its call for a big pro-Mursi rally last Tuesday because of fears of violence between the president's supporters and opponents, who had also called for mass demonstrations on the same day.

Five months into the Islamist leader's term, in scenes recalling the uprising that unseated his predecessor Hosni Mubarak last year, police fired tear gas at stone-throwers after protests by tens of thousands on Tuesday against the declaration that put Mursi's decisions beyond legal challenge.

Anti-Mursi protesters say they will stay in Tahrir Square until the decree is withdrawn, bringing fresh turmoil to a nation at the heart of the Arab Spring and delivering a new blow to an economy already on the ropes.

Egypt's cassation and appeals courts said on Wednesday they would suspend their work until the constitutional court rules on the decree, which has further damaged Mursi's already testy relationship with Egypt's judges.





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