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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid