Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Egyptian army chief calls for street protests

Egypt: 24 July 2013(7STARNEWS)Egypt\'s army chief has called for demonstrations on Friday to give the military a mandate to confront \"violence and potential terrorism\".

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he was not calling for public unrest and wanted national reconciliation.

Supporters of Mohammed Morsi have been protesting against the army intervention which removed him as president of Egypt on 3 July.

But the Muslim Brotherhood dismissed Gen Sisi\'s call as a \"threat\".

Essam El-Erian, deputy chairman of the Brotherhood\'s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), said: \"Your threat will not stop the millions from continuing to gather.\"

He called Gen Sisi \"a coup leader who kills women, children and those at prayer\".

Army \'united\'

In a speech at a military graduation ceremony, which was broadcast on television, Gen Sisi said: \"I urge the people to take to the streets this coming Friday to prove their will and give me, the army and police, a mandate to confront possible violence and terrorism.\"

\"So that in case there was a resort to violence and terrorism, the army would have a mandate to confront this.\"

Our correspondent says that Gen Sisi\'s call showed who was really in charge in Egypt - not the interim president picked by the military, Adly Mahmud Mansour, but the military itself.

He says it may be a sign of frustration that protests against the interim government are still going on.

It also followed an overnight bomb attack on a police station in Mansoura, 110 km (68 miles) north of Cairo, that killed one person and wounded two dozen others.

A government spokesman condemned it as a terrorist attack.

In Cairo, two people were reported to have been killed in clashes at a pro-Morsi demonstration overnight. That followed nine deaths in the city on Tuesday.

Gen Sisi, who is also the defence minister in the new government, rejected rumours about divisions within the army ranks. \"I swear by God that the Egyptian army is united,\" he said.

Referring to the army\'s intervention to remove Mr Morsi early this month, Gen Sisi said: \"I urged the former president to be a president for all Egyptians\".

And, recalling the 2012 presidential election when Mr Morsi was voted into office, he said that he had advised Islamists not to field a presidential candidate - but that they had ignored him.

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