News / Middle East

    Morsi Critics Demand Early Egypt Elections

    An Egyptian signs a petition for Tamarod, Arabic for "rebel", a campaign calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and for early presidential elections in the Shubra neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt, June 2, 2013.
    An Egyptian signs a petition for Tamarod, Arabic for "rebel", a campaign calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and for early presidential elections in the Shubra neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt, June 2, 2013.
    Elizabeth Arrott
    For many Egyptians, the year since Mohamed Morsi became the nation's first democratically elected president has been a failure. After a year of dreadful economic decline, energy and water shortages, lack of security and what some see as the president's overbearing, exclusive, Islamist agenda, they now want to do something about it.

    Across the country, activists with the Tamarod - or Rebel - campaign have been collecting signatures expressing lost confidence in Morsi and demanding early elections.

    Some view the campaign, and planned demonstrations on June 30, as an exercise in democracy.

    May Wahba, head of Tamarod's media department, argues the legally elected Morsi lost legitimacy when he assumed extraordinary powers for several weeks late last year.

    She says anti-Morsi campaigners would like to use the same democratic way he came to power to make him leave. She cites Article 1 of the constitution, which places power in the hands of the people.

    Tamarod Central Committee member Sayed Gharib contends Morsi has betrayed the spirit of the January, 2011 revolution and the hundreds who died carrying it out.

    Gharib says the revolution brought Morsi to power, but “the legality of the ballot box and constitutional legality will not stand above the blood of the martyrs.”

    Tamarod campaigners say they have collected the signatures of 15 million people, more than the number who voted for Morsi last year.

    Tamarod leaders do not know how many who signed the petition will turn out for the demonstrations. They also express doubts Morsi will give in to their demands, even if millions do take to the streets. The president has already called the planned protests counter-revolutionary, and says he will deal with them “decisively.” Government supporters plan demonstrations of their own.

    Tamarod member Wahba says the movement is committed to peaceful protest, but is bracing for violence.

    She says they are expecting June 30 to be “a bloody day” because certain groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have been putting pressure on Tamarod since their campaign began in April.

    Members of the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing say authorities will respect peaceful demonstrations. But Mohamed Soudan, the Freedom and Justice Party's foreign secretary, says protesters would be better off mobilizing what support it has for the next round of parliamentary elections.

    “Then you can have your own prime minister who can do whatever are your desires and demands and then he will have, according to the new constitution, more power, more benefits than the president himself,” Soudan said.

    Tamarod leader Gharib says it is not about power. He hopes Egypt's constitutional court will assume interim control if Morsi steps down. Those are the slogans, and the hope, of the revolution that toppled the old government, protests Gharib took part in. He also demonstrated against the military rulers who followed.

    The mantle of revolution - of protest against oppression, even if it is not clear what comes next - is something Tamorod shares with those in power now.

    The Freedom and Justice Party's Soudan says Tamarod should give Morsi a chance.

    “They should ask him their demands in the manner which better makes them the model, which all over the world [people] appreciate, the way which was the 25th of January revolution," Soudan said. "The Egyptians were already a good model.”

    Egypt's democracy, and its culture of protest, is in its infancy. Interpreters sometimes contradict each other and occasionally themselves. Perhaps the only thing certain is that as tempers and temperatures flare, the country is facing a long, hot summer.

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora