News / Middle East

Egyptian Army Chief Urges Protests

In this image taken from Egypt State TV, Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech in Cairo, July 24, 2013.
In this image taken from Egypt State TV, Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech in Cairo, July 24, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
Egypt's Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has urged Egyptians to turn out Friday to denounce what he called "violence and terrorism," and to authorize the army and police to deal with it. He also insisted there is "no going back" on Egypt's political "road map" which he vowed would end in free and fair elections. 

Sissi received applause as he addressed a crowd of graduating cadets, insisting that his “conscience was clear” over his actions in Egypt's recent political upheaval. “The military,” he insisted, “takes orders only from the people.”

He said he warned Egypt's political and religious leaders, including ousted President Mohamed Morsi, over many months that the country was “heading into a dark tunnel,” and that a “solution” was needed to resolve the country's escalating crisis.

Sissi also stressed that the “political road map” calling for rewriting the constitution and holding fresh parliamentary and presidential elections would go ahead as planned, despite protests by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

The defense minister said no one should think for one minute that he can ignore the road map, insisting that free and fair elections would be held and that international organizations would be free to monitor them. If any group, he said, believes it has a majority, it should run in the election.

According to Reuters Egypt's public prosecutor later ordered the arrest of Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and eight other senior members of the movement in a probe over accusations of inciting violence.  Badie and other Brotherhood figures have been detained before and subsequently released since July 3. The Brotherhood, which for decades existed largely underground before the fall of strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011, fears a broad crackdown.

As scattered violence rocked various parts of the country, Sissi asked Egyptians to hold rallies on Friday to demonstrate to the world that they support their military, as they did on June 30.

He said he has never asked anything of the Egyptian people, but that he is urging them to turn out on Friday to show the world what they have decided and to give the army and the police the authority to confront violence and terrorism.

Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Essam el-Erian told Qatar's Arabic-language al Jazeera TV that his group refuses any “army diktat,” and that it demands that elected President Mohamed Morsi be reinstated.

Mohamed Kamal, who is professor of political science at Cairo University, tells VOA that he thinks the army is trying to circumscribe further violence, but is being magnanimous by offering the Muslim Brotherhood a second chance to make their case with voters:

"It shows that the military is concerned about the escalation of violence, especially in Cairo, and wanted to put an end to this stalemate and it also shows [Sissi] wants to give the Brotherhood and their party a second chance in politics, which is rare. He wants them to run again in what he promised to be free and fair elections and that the people and the military will accept the result of this election," Kamal said.

Kamal points out that there is a “growing wave of anti-Muslim Brotherhood sentiment” in Egypt and that it would be “political suicide” for the group to continue to oppose the "new reality on the ground.”

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Comment Sorting
by: Antoine Mazerty
July 24, 2013 11:24 AM
This is the head of the armed military junta who dared to propagandize that there were "33 millions demonstrators according to CNN", that wonderful bogus and propagandist lie.

Obama and the US should be ashamed to fund this nauseous military junta but they aren't, being a major part of the world problems... Appalling and pathetic.
In Response

by: James from: UK
July 24, 2013 6:49 PM
you would think that Egypt would buy food,fuel and other neccesities before buying are hungry and on the streets, people are seek and general is buying arms
In Response

by: Chilean from: S. America
July 24, 2013 6:44 PM
general forgat to say that he overthroved democraticly elected govenment and president....that now Egypt will get another Pinochet like we did in Chile back in the day, and like Camobodia got Pol Plot and many others....nowadays Egypt, after one thousand years history, will become a banana republic without regards to basic fundamental human rights...good luck to Egypt and all other African and Arab nations ...people need to unite and witout unity there will be no progress.....that I think is the recept and dream of most autocratic leaders and some kings in the middle east and SE asia......war and suppresion of the people and democracy and that is why this general received billions from ''those other countries'' in the region to suppres his people

by: James from: USA
July 24, 2013 11:17 AM
When ever there is descent it is then labeled terrorism. I am not a supporter of the Morsi or his party, but the military wants a carte blanche to start shooting.

by: ali baba from: new york
July 24, 2013 10:54 AM
the army chief did the right thing to eliminate and remove moersi. he has to complete the job by remove the violent act by Muslim brotherhood by any means necessary
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
July 24, 2013 8:47 PM
in reply to Antoine. I guess that you can get some education to know the definition of democracy .Islam does not believe in democracy . and what moersi did in Egypt is clear definition of directorship. he want impose Islamic law. he hired all his staff from Muslim brotherhood. there was over 22 million sign to remove him. .and still want me to believe because democracy . it is foolish what you say
In Response

by: Antoine Mazerty
July 24, 2013 2:46 PM
This is obviously a military coup made by the people at the root cause of the country instability and year long sabotages, the sore losers of the democratic elections, the Mubarak dictatorship old guard and the military junta.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
July 24, 2013 2:04 PM
agagin this is not a coup .it is necessary step to restore stability in the country
In Response

by: Antoine Mazerty
July 24, 2013 1:14 PM
You can't even spell Morsi correctly but we can be sure that you are informed enough to voice such an anti-democratic "opinion", cheering a decades-old military junta's coup deposing a freely and democratically president and putting down the constitution a majority of the people democratically voted for, that's -again- appalling and pathetic.

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