Monday 18 November 2019

Ex-Egypt lawmakers in Morsi demand

A man holds a poster of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi (AP)
A man holds a poster of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi (AP)

Islamist lawmakers in Egypt's disbanded upper house of parliament have demanded the army reinstate ousted President Mohammed Morsi, and called on other legislatures around the world not to recognise the country's new military-backed leadership.

Mr Morsi's supporters, including his Islamist allies, remain steadfast in their rejection of the popularly supported military coup that toppled Mr Morsi nearly two weeks ago. They have staged a series of mass protests in Cairo to push their demands, and are vowing to stay in the streets until Mr Morsi is returned to office.

Speaking at a mass rally staged by Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, the two dozen former parliamentarians, all Islamist members of the Shura Council that was dissolved by court order, accused the military of attempting to restore a "corrupt and dictatorial" regime.

Mr Morsi was Egypt's first freely elected president, succeeding long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak who himself was toppled in 2011. The military ousted Mr Morsi after millions of protesters took to the streets calling for his removal.

The military has brushed aside the Brotherhood's demands, while the new army-backed administration of interim President Adly Mansour has forged ahead with a swift timetable to amend the now suspended constitution, drafted under Mr Morsi, and to hold parliamentary and presidential elections by early next year.

While the presidency has floated offers of reconciliation with the Brotherhood, authorities are simultaneously clamping down the group. So far, five of its top leaders have been arrested, and arrest warrants have been issued against the group's top leader and nine other Islamists.

Prosecutors on Saturday said they continue to investigate allegations that Mr Morsi and 30 other Brotherhood leaders escaped from prison in 2011 with help from the Palestinian militant group Hamas. That jailbreak occurred amid the uprising that toppled Mubarak.

Street violence has largely ceased since Monday's deadly clashes that left more than 50 Muslim Brotherhood supporters dead and hundreds wounded after they were holding a sit-in in front of Republican Guard forces club. The Brotherhood accuses the military of opening fire on protesters, while the army says Morsi supporters instigated the violence.

The Brotherhood has remained adamant in its opposition to the new political landscape, and shows no sign of backing down in its showdown with the military-backed interim leadership.

Mr Morsi's supporters have pledged to keep protesting until the military meets their demands - the reinstatement of Mr Morsi, the Islamist-drafted constitution and the Islamist-dominated legislature - and leading Brotherhood member Essam el-Arian called for another mass rally on Monday.

PA Media

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