World News

Morsi Opponents, Supporters Stage Big Rallies in Cairo



Huge crowds have gathered in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, for rival demonstrations in opposition and support of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, on the first anniversary of his inauguration as Egypt's first freely elected leader.

In one of Sunday's rallies, thousands of secular and liberal opposition activists filled Cairo's Tahrir Square, waving Egyptian flags and chanting slogans demanding Mr. Morsi's resignation. They accuse him of trying to monopolize power in the hands of his Muslim Brotherhood movement and failing to fix the struggling Egyptian economy.

In another part of Cairo, Mr. Morsi's Islamist backers congregated around a mosque near the presidential palace. The opposition activists planned to march to the palace late Sunday. The streets of Cairo were unusually quiet for the start of the working week as many residents stayed home, fearing the prospect of a violent confrontation between the rival groups.

Organizers of both rallies said they want their followers to remain peaceful.

Mr. Morsi rejected the opposition demand he resign with three years remaining in his presidential term. In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian published Sunday, he said that if he gave in to the pressure, a new president could face similar opposition demands to quit after a "week or a month."



Mr. Morsi's supporters have vowed to defend him against what they see as opposition efforts to oust a democratically-elected leader. They accuse the opposition of trying to return Egypt to the era of longtime former autocratic president Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in a popular pro-democracy uprising in 2011.

The Egyptian military deployed extra forces around the country to guard key installations including the Suez Canal. Street battles linked to the political tension killed at least seven people in the past week, among them an American student stabbed to death while photographing protests in Alexandria.

U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said the United States has boosted security at its embassy and consulates in Egypt. Speaking Sunday, he also said the Obama administration has been in touch with Egyptian government officials and opposition figures to urge them to resolve their differences peacefully.

Organizers of Sunday's anti-Morsi protest said more than 22-million people signed a petition demanding the Islamist leader's resignation, almost double the number of people that voted for him in last year's presidential election. It was not possible to verify the petition figure independently.

President Morsi has offered to discuss reforms to the Egyptian constitution, drafted largely by Islamists last year and seen by many secular Egyptians as a threat to their way of life. But Egyptian opposition leaders have dismissed the president's gesture as too little, too late.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs