Top News: Two years since uprising, Egypt braces for more protests


Egypt marks the second anniversary of the uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power with little to celebrate. Deeply divided and facing an economic crisis, the nation is bracing for more protests, but this time against a freely elected leader. 


Egypt churches withdraw from Morsi’s national dialogue
Representative from Egypt’s Christian churches have withdrawn from President Mohamed Morsi’s national dialogue. The Coptic Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical churches decided to leave the dialogue on Wednesday because it was "unproductive" and did not "yield the desired results," said Father Rafik Gerish, the Catholic representative at the dialogue. The Coptic Watani newspaper said that the churches’ withdrawal did not indicate an "unwillingness to participate in public affairs." The decision was taken because "the dialogue was not fulfilling its role of fostering positive discussions and prioritising national consensus." [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 1/24/2013]

Egypt parties, groups call for Friday rally to demand labour rights
After accusing the government of working against the interests of labourers, several Egyptian political parties and movements issued a statement on Tuesday calling for mass protests this Friday – on the occasion of the January 25 Revolution’s two-year anniversary – to demand workers’ rights. The joint statement was issued by the Egyptian Federation for Independent Unions, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Egyptian Popular Current, the National Association for Change, the Free Egyptian movement and the Kefaya protest movement. [Ahram Online, 1/23/2013]

Nour Party to not join revolution anniversary commemoration, Brotherhood will not be in Tahrir
The Salafi-oriented Nour Party plans to not take part in commemorating the 25 January revolution Friday, party Secretary General Galal al-Morra said. He said Thursday that the situation in Egypt can bear neither celebrations nor protests. "[We will not participate] out of care for the country and the higher interests of [people] and because we fear the occurrence of violence, especially as some elements seek sabotage, instability and creating a state of chaos in the country," he said. The Muslim Brotherhood will not be in Tahrir Square for the 25 January revolution anniversary Friday, Ahmed Aref, spokesperson for the group, said. Aref posted on Facebook Wednesday, saying the Brotherhood would instead be working in a campaign to rebuild 1,800 schools and 650,000 medical units. The Strong Egypt Party (SEP) announced Wednesday night its intention to join the Friday protests, commemorating the 25 January revolution’s second anniversary. [Egypt Independent, DNE, 1/24/2013]

Also of Interest:
University students withdraw from Popular Current | DNE
Salafi leader criticizes Brotherhood for excluding other groups | Egypt Independent
Salafist splits bring new choices, complications for voters | Ahram Online
Shafiq calls on demonstrators to demand early elections | Egypt Independent
Islamist al-Zomor threatens violence against ‘bitter’ secularists | Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic)
Rights groups call on Morsi to follow through with abuse investigations | Egypt Independent


Qursaya residents file lawsuit against Morsi and defense minister
Qursaya Island residents and several rights organizations have released a joint statement on Wednesday announcing a lawsuit filed against "turning lands in the island into military sites." The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the State Council against President Mohamed Morsi and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. According to the statement, the Qursaya dispute dates back to 2007 when "the armed forces started military trainings on about 5 feddans of the island. The cabinet also did not allow residents to renew land rent contracts in an attempt to sell off lands to Egyptian businessmen." [Ahram Online, 1/23/2013]


Agreement between Egypt and IMF to be renegotiated
The Egyptian government and the IMF will enter new negotiations over a Stand-By Agreement to lend Egypt some $4.8 billion, Ashraf al-Arabi, minister of planning and international cooperation, told al-Mal newspaper on the margins of a seminar. The minister said that the government will ask the IMF to prolong implementing the economic reform programme to the coming financial year (2013/2014). He also revealed that the deal with the IMF stipulates minimum foreign reserves of $19 billion. Egypt’s foreign reserves have fallen below this level since December 2011. Last month, they reached a low point of $15.01 billion. [Ahram Online, 1/23/2013]

Financial adviser: Multinational banks offer support for Islamic bonds
Multinational banks such as Citibank, Credit Agricole and the Islamic Development Bank expressed willingness to provide support to Egypt in the early stages of issuing Islamic bonds, an adviser to the finance minister said. Ahmed al-Naggar, the adviser responsible for the Islamic bonds, or sukuk, said the banks were willing to provide technical and administrative support and to train staff. [Egypt Independent/MENA, 1/23/2013]


Egypt military won’t secure state TV building for Friday rallies
Military personnel have not been deployed to secure the state broadcasting building in Cairo’s Maspero district ahead of planned Friday demonstrations, Egyptian military spokesman Ahmed Ali announced Wednesday evening. Quoted in al-Ahram’s Arabic-language news website, Ali explained that, ever since the suspension of Egypt’s longstanding state of emergency last year, the interior ministry – rather than the military – has been responsible for securing the state broadcasting building. The Armed Forces is reinforcing security at the borders and in other strategic areas ahead of Friday’s protests marking the second anniversary of the 25 January revolution. A military source told al-Masry al-Youm that the army would be prepared to fight back against possible attacks should there be political unrest in the coming days. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 1/23/2013]

Brotherhood and FJP facilities attacked
A chain of attacks on Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) facilities were carried out on Wednesday. Brotherhood news website Ikhwan Online’s headquarters were set ablaze Wednesday evening by a group of unidentified assailants. Attackers threw Molotov cocktails but the flames were soon extinguished, FJP spokesperson Ahmed Sobei said. [DNE, 1/24/2013]

12 Egyptian Central Security conscripts injured in clashes with officers in Sinai
Twelve Central Security Forces conscripts were injured earlier Thursday in clashes with low-ranking police officers in a security camp in al-Tur city in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. About 350 conscripts went on hunger strike in the camp located in al-Gobail village in al-Tur (southern Sinai) in protest of what they called "bad treatment" at the hands of their commanding officers. [Ahram Online, Shorouk, 1/24/2013]

Also of Interest:
Student reportedly arrested for possession of a police wireless device | DNE


Two years since uprising, Egypt braces for more protests
Egypt marks the second anniversary of the uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power with little to celebrate. Deeply divided and facing an economic crisis, the nation is bracing for more protests, but this time against a freely elected leader. President Mohamed Morsi’s opponents plan to march to Tahrir Square on Friday to vent anger at the new Islamist leader and his Muslim Brotherhood backers, whom they accuse of betraying the goals of the January 25 revolution that galvanized Egyptians in a display of national unity that has not been seen since. Protesters taking part in an ongoing sit-in at the presidential palace have already set up a field hospital in anticipation of any potential attacks.[Reuters, EGYNews (Arabic), 1/24/2013]

Protesters bring down police wall near Tahrir; Clash with police on Qasr al-Aini Street
Protesters brought down the wall on Qasr al-Eini Street off Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo on Thursday afternoon. Earlier in the day, Egyptian riot police used tear gas with tens of protesters who tried to bring down the cement wall that bans protesters from reaching the Egyptian Parliament and Cabinet Council building. Clashes between protesters in Tahrir Square and security forces renewed Thursday afternoon, after protesters attempted to complete the demolition of the concrete wall in Qasr al-Aini Street.[Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, AP, El Watan (Video), 1/24/2013]

Revolutionaries block Ismailia railway to protest Morsi visit
Activists in the Ismailia Revolutionary Bloc blocked a railway track in Ismailia to protest a visit to the Suez Canal by President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday afternoon. Protesters laid down on the tracks and stopped a train on its way to Zagazig in the Delta from Port Said on the Suez Canal. Police and military officers arrested seven activists writing messages on the walls to reject Morsi’s visit. Some military officers arrested the activists and handed them over to the police, and were detained for some time before being released, one activist said. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 1/24/2013]

Also of Interest:
Ultras Ahlawy: Saturday decisive for many, threatens ‘death’ for Port Said accused | Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent
Ahead of anniversary, suspension between normalcy and ongoing revolution | Egypt Independent


No final word on Egypt hosting Iran, world nuclear talks: Diplomat
Egypt did not take a final decision on hosting the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, an Egyptian diplomatic source told Egyptian state-run news agency MENA on Thursday. Yet, the source stated Cairo will always welcome the concept of contributing to peace and stability in the Middle East. [Ahram Online, 1/24/2013]

Egypt criticizes countries with nuclear weapons for failing to disarm

Egypt on Wednesday criticized countries possessing nuclear weapons for not having taken serious steps toward disarmament, despite the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Wafaa Bassim, Egypt’s delegate to the United Nations in Geneva, denounced the postponement of a conference on freeing the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction scheduled for December, even though countries of the region — except Israel — had expressed their willingness to attend. [Egypt Independent/MENA,1/23/2013]

Also of Interest:
Morsi agrees to hand over Libyan suspects in Egypt | Egypt Independent

Photo: AP

Image: egypt_clashes_AP.jpg