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Egypt: Opposition to Mark Uprising with New Protests

25 Jan 2013

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Egyptian protesters clash with security forces


REUTERS

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi's opponents head to Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to mark the anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak with protests against the new head of state and his Islamist allies.

On the second anniversary of the uprising, Mursi's secular-minded rivals aim to revive the demands of a revolution that they say has been betrayed by the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement that propelled him to power in an election last year.

"I call on everyone to take part and go out to every place in Egypt to show that the revolution must be completed," Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading liberal, said in a statement.

"It will be against the Brotherhood," said Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 movement that helped mobilize the uprising against Mubarak through social media. "The goals of the revolution have not been realized yet," he told Reuters.

Inspired by Tunisia's uprising against President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt's revolution helped set off more revolts in Libya and Syria. But the sense of common purpose that united Egyptians at the time has given way to conflict that has grown only worse and last month triggered lethal street battles.

The anniversary will once again showcase the divide between the Islamists and their secular opponents. The Brotherhood has decided against mobilizing in the street for the occasion, a decision that could reduce the likelihood of confrontation.

Mursi, in a speech marking the Prophet Mohammad's birthday, called on Egyptians to mark the anniversary "in a civilized, peaceful way that safeguards our nation, our institutions, our lives".

"The Brotherhood is very concerned about escalation, that's why they have tried to dial down their role on January 25," said Shadi Hamid director of research at the Brookings Doha Center.

"There may very well be the kinds of clashes that we've seen before, but I don't see anything major happening that is going to fundamentally change the political situation," he said.

Mursi faces discontent on multiple fronts.

His opponents say he and his group are seeking to dominate the post-Mubarak order. They accuse him of showing some of the autocratic impulses of the deposed leader by, for example, driving through a controversial new constitution last month.

The Brotherhood dismisses such criticism as unfair. It accuses its opponents of failing to respect the rules of the new democracy that put the Islamists in the driving seat by winning elections.

Six months into office, Mursi is also being held responsible for an economic crisis caused by two years of turmoil. The Egyptian pound has sunk to record lows against the dollar.


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