A number of protests was announced within Cairo and in certain governorates on Friday as part of the “youth are pillars of the revolution” Friday. The protests came after the National Coalition for Legitimacy, the Muslim Brotherhood youth and the Anti-Coup Youth Movement called for mass protests.


Jama’a al-Islamiya denounces security invasion of Kerdasa
Alaa Abu al-Nasr, secretary general of the Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Construction and Development Party, criticized the army invasion of the town Kerdasa in Giza. He described the security operations in the town as “messages from the army and the police to the areas most opposed to the coup.” Mohamed Hassan, spokesperson of the party, denied the involvement of Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Shura council members Assem Abdel Maged and Tarek al-Zomor in Kerdasa prior to the army invasion. [Egypt Independent, 9/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Sabbahi says he is ready to run for president | AMAY (Arabic)
Heikal reveals minutes of Brotherhood meeting | Ahram Online
Arrest powers for campus guards a disgrace, says Aboul Fotouh | Egypt Independent


Constituent Assembly holds first hearing session on military trials
The fifty member constituent assembly, tasked with drafting amendments to the 2012 constitution, conducted a hearing session on military trials on Thursday, hosting Medhat Radwan, the head of the military judiciary authority. The session is the first among two, called for by the No to Military Trials for Civilians group. Constituent Assembly spokesperson Mohamed Salmawy stated that constituent assembly members are divided on the issue of military trials. Some completely oppose subjecting civilians to military trials, while others are calling for allowing military trials of civilians who directly attack any armed forces personnel or institutions. A third group suggests removing the issue from the constitution and leaving it to the law to decide the cases where civilians should be subjected to military trials. Meanwhile, at the request of the Nour Party, Mohamed Ibrahim Abdel-Hamid Mansour has replaced Bassam al-Zarqa in the committee, after his substitute, Mohamed al-Azhari refused to take up the role. Mansour is a high ranking Nour Party member and is on the board of directors of the Salafi Call. [DNE, Ahram Online, SIS, 9/20/2013]

Gehad al-Haddad accused of “false news that threaten national security”
The Public Prosecutor decided on Thursday night that Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad and five others will be detained for fifteen days for interrogations held by State Security Prosecution, according to state-owned news agency MENA. The detained include former Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Qalyubiya member of parliament, Ahmed Diab, Hesham Ismail, Mohamed Abu al-Fadl, Osama Abdel Moneim and Mohamed Ibrahim. Prosecution charged Haddad and the other Brotherhood members of belonging to a “terrorist group,” publishing “false news” that ”disrupts national peace”, ”[threatening] national security” and “[portraying] a false image abroad.” They were also charged with inciting and participating in murder, sabotaging public installations and assaulting personal freedoms. [DNE, EGYNews (Arabic), Tahrir (Arabic), 9/20/2013]

Also of interest:
Azhar independence to be guaranteed in amended constitution: official | SIS
Court orders EGP 100 million bail for steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz | Ahram Online, Tahrir (Arabic), Egypt Independent, Mada Masr
Egyptian court postpones case review against ElBaradei | Ahram Online
No civilians held in military prisons, say military judiciary | Ahram Online, SIS
Sixteen professional syndicates prepare syndicate freedoms document to presented to the Constitutional Assembly | AMAY (Arabic)


Egypt returns $2 billion to Qatar in sign of growing tensions
Egypt has returned $2 billion that Qatar had deposited with its central bank, after talks to convert the funds into three-year bonds broke down. Over the past year, Qatar had been a firm backer of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar gave the government of Egypt’s former President Mohammed Morsi some $8 billion in aid as it suffered through an economic slowdown. Cairo’s relations with Qatar deteriorated after the Egyptian army deposed President Mohamed Morsi on July 3. On Thursday, Hesham Ramez, the head of Egypt’s Central Bank, said the money was returned to Qatar after its government asked Egyptian officials to postpone the conversion of the funds to bonds as earlier agreed. Meanwhile, Egypt’s civil aviation ministry turned down a request by its Qatari counterpart to increase the number of flights between Egypt and Qatar.[Reuters, EGYNews (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), Amwal al-Ghad, AP, Mada Masr, SIS, 9/20/2013]

Egypt’s Trade Union refuses minimum wages rate
Egypt’s semi-governmental Trade Union has condemned the government’s decision to set the minimum wage at EGP 1,200. The union said that this rate does not live up to state employees’ aspiration after January revolution. The union’s head stressed that the rate does not take current living expenses into consideration. [AMAY (Arabic), 9/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
0.67 percent increase in the stock market’s main index | EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic)
German tour operators split over restarting Egypt trips | Amwal al-Ghad
Industry Minister stresses keenness on solving Saudi investments’ problems in Egypt | SIS


Two Al Jazeera Egypt staffers arrested for ‘illegal possession of transmission equipment’
Two staffers at Al Jazeera’s Egyptian channel Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr have been detained for allegedly possessing illegal transmission equipment, according to a judicial statement. They were arrested at an Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr office in Cairo’s Agouza district on Thursday and ordered to be detained for four days pending investigations. Authorities also seized “unlicensed” equipment. Taher Saad and Hammam Mazen, a Palestinian, are accused of possessing and operating wireless equipment and broadcasting audiovisual content without required licenses. [Ahram Online, DNE, 9/20/2013]

Islamists rally on Friday; Clashes break out in Suez and Alexandria
A number of protests was announced within Cairo and in certain governorates on Friday as part of the “youth are pillars of the revolution” Friday. The protests came after the National Coalition for Legitimacy, the Muslim Brotherhood youth and the Anti-Coup Youth Movement called for mass protests. Protests set out after Friday prayers from different mosques in Cairo and Giza, while other governorates are also witnessing protests, including Alexandria, Port Said, Sharqia and Minya. The Muslim Brotherhood also called for protests to march to Kerdasa, with protests breaking out on Friday in the Giza village, which is host to a massive security operation that started on Thursday. Four people were injured in clashes that broke out between Morsi supporters and opponents in Suez, while in Alexandria, security forces fired teargas bombs at groups of demonstrators after allies and opponents of former President Mohamed Mursi clashed. Clashes also broke out in the Cairo suburb of Dokki. [DNE, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya,  Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), 9/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt holds popular funeral for slain police general | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, AP
Police besiege thousands of Zamalek ultras gathering outside club | Egypt Independent, DNE, AMAY (Arabic), Mada Masr
Ahmed Maher accuses government and presidency of ignoring April 6 proposals | Ahram Gate (Arabic)  
NGOs discuss human rights situation in Egypt | DNE


Egyptian security forces hunt militants after storming town near Cairo
Egyptian security forces were hunting for supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood on Friday after retaking control of a town near Cairo in a crackdown on Islamists. They are tracking al-Jama’a al-Islamiya’s prominent leader, Tarek al-Zomor, who is allegedly in a villa in Nahia. The Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday night that it arrested sixty-eight people in the villages of Kerdasa and Nahia in the Giza governorate during its security operation, while Reuters reports that a total of eighty-five people have been arrested. Meanwhile, the National council for Human Rights announced forming a fact finding committee to investigate an attack on Kerdasa police station on Thursday and the police crackdown that ensued. [Reuters, DNE, SIS, EGYnews (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), Aswat Masriya, 9/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Salafist Jihadism’s top funder arrested in Sinai | AMAY (Arabic)
Civilian killed in drive-by shooting at checkpoint on the outskirts of Cairo | Ahram Online
Bombs target soldiers in Egypt’s Sinai, no injuries reported | Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), Aswat Masriya
Military Spokesman: Fifteen Takfiri elements arrested in North Sinai | SIS


Rebuilding trust is absolutely critical: Leon
European Union Special Envoy for the Southern Mediterranean Region Bernardino León expressed concern over deepening rifts between camps in Egypt during his most recent visit. The envoy met with the chairman of the fifty member assembly amending the constitution Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the National Salvation Front Ahmed Saeed, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy, representatives from the Salafi Nour Party, and Minister of Transitional Justice Mohamed Amin al-Mahdy. León also met with Amr Darrag and Mohamed Ali Bishr to communicate with a side that includes the Muslim Brotherhood, which continues opposing the change of power that occurred on July 3 when Mohamed Morsi was removed from office. [DNE, EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), SIS, 9/19/2013]

Anne Patterson: United States will continue to pressure Egypt for democracy
Former US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson said the United States will continue to pressure Egypt to achieve democracy, implement the roadmap and form a new civil elected cabinet. Patterson told the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs that the Middle East is expected to suffer from unrest for a long time. Patterson said that US influence in the Middle East and Egypt has not declined and added that the recent change of regime and the declaration of the state of emergency has raised the concerns of Washington. She also said that Egypt faces several challenges and that the conduct of elections is not the solution because they lack constitutional foundations. [Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), SFRC Testimony, 9/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Fahmy tells acting US ambassador Egypt is committed to the roadmap | Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic)
Nour Party deputy barred from entering United States | AMAY (Arabic)
Head of National Human Rights Council tells acting US ambassador army did not take power | AMAY (Arabic)
Interim president to visit Kuwait | Ahram Gate (Arabic), SIS
Rafah crossing will be closed for the weekend | EGYNews (Arabic), Tahrir (Arabic)
FM heads Egypt’s delegation for UNGA meetings | SIS
Industry Minister: Programs for fostering economic relations between Egypt, USA | SIS