News / Africa

    Egyptian Opposition Shuns Morsi's Offer of Dialogue

    Egyptian army tanks secure the perimeter of the presidential palace while protesters gather chanting slogans against President Mohammed Morsi, in Cairo, Egypt, December 7, 2012.
    Egyptian army tanks secure the perimeter of the presidential palace while protesters gather chanting slogans against President Mohammed Morsi, in Cairo, Egypt, December 7, 2012.
    Edward Yeranian
    Egyptian opposition leaders are refusing a call by President Mohamed Morsi for a dialogue, insisting that he put off a Dec. 15 referendum on a new draft constitution and give up sweeping powers. Tensions in Cairo are also mounting as pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators gather in different parts of the capital to protest.

    A crowd of Islamist supporters of the president gathered at Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque Friday to mourn several of their members killed in violent clashes Wednesday. The Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, delivered a eulogy to honor those killed.

    At the same time, opponents of the president gathered in other parts of the capital to protest what they say are autocratic measures by Morsi. Opposition leaders want him to give up sweeping powers that he has taken and postpone a December 15 referendum on a new constitution.

    • An Egyptian protester reads the newspaper as others sit next to their tents in Tahrir Square in Cairo, December 9, 2012
    • Egyptian men stand near writing on a wall in Arabic that reads down with the leader's rule, no to the Muslim Brotherhood in Tahrir Square in Cairo, December 9, 2012.
    • An Egyptian jet fighter flys over Tahrir Square as protesters gather, not pictured, in Cairo, December 9, 2012.
    • Anti-Mursi protesters walk near a military tank in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 8, 2012.
    • Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood welcome tanks arriving outside the Egyptian presidential palace in Cairo, December 6, 2012.
    • Egyptian Army soldiers install barbed wire outside the presidential palace to secure the site of overnight clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 6, 2012
    • Anti-Morsi protesters set off fireworks and shine laser pointers on a road leading to the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 6, 2012.
    • Protesters gather during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi outside the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 5, 2012.
    • A wounded protester reacts during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi outside the presidential palace in Cairo, December 5, 2012.
    • Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi carry a body of one of six victims killed during Wednesday's clashes, Al Azhar mosque, Cairo, Egypt, December 7, 2012.
    • Protesters opposing president Mohamed Morsi attend Friday prayers beneath a poster depicting protesters killed in the Egyptian revolution, Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, December 7, 2012.


    Several thousand protesters chanted against Morsi near the presidential palace, despite measures by the army to keep them away from the building.  Earlier, Presidential Guard troops placed cement blocks topped with barbed wire across a main boulevard to block off the area.

    Arab media reported that opposition leaders had rejected a call by the president to hold a dialogue Saturday at the presidential palace. Morsi had called for the meeting in a speech Thursday night, but failed to make any major concessions.

    The head of the National Salvation Front, Mohammed ElBaradei, told supporters that the president's unwillingness to compromise has created what he calls "a disaster."

    ElBaradei says it would have been possible to reach a national consensus over the constitution if Morsi had responded to repeated demands to annul a constitutional declaration giving him sweeping powers, and postpone the December 15 referendum.

    Said Sadek, who teaches political sociology at the American University in Cairo, foresees a long period of instability stemming from the increasing polarization of Egyptian society. Sadek thinks the chaos will also erode Morsi's popular support:

    "More instability, more chaos and more economic troubles would also undermine the regime of Morsi, because his social base is the countryside and some squatter settlements," said Sadek.  "Now, when there is economic squeezing, this is a base that will be hit harder than the middle class and upper class and they will start screaming, 'where is the food, where is the bread?'"

    Sadek says that President Morsi and his Islamist supporters have an us-versus-them view of society which inevitably creates conflict:

    "The Islamists, wherever they are, they always cause division in society and the Muslim Brotherhood is dominated by a group who are elderly, under the influence of the writing of Sayyid Qutb, who divided the world into the society of believers and society non-believers," Sadek added.  "So, they look at themselves as the chosen people and the rest are second class citizens."

    Islamist followers of the Muslim Brotherhood and those of the more extreme Islamic Salafist sect have joined forces in the recent battle over the constitution.  Secular, leftist and Christian opposition supporters claim that President Morsi is now governing in the name of Islamist forces, rather than of all Egyptians.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora