A small crowd of some 500 marched in downtown Cairo on Saturday calling for the fall of the Muhammad Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, regime. It was led by the April 6 youth movement, which has turned decisively against the country’s first elected president because he and his party have been acting in dictatorial ways reminiscent of deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak.
The nation-wide protests on Saturday were also supported by opposition political parties,including the Constitution Party, the Free Egyptians Party, the Strong Egypt Party, and the Revolutionary Socialists.
A group of the activists also demonstrated peacefully outside the public prosecutor’s office but were attacked by police teargas. Many Egyptian activists object to President Morsi having dismissed the previous prosecutor-general, seen as a Mubarak holdover, and appointed a new one (not something obviously in his power to do). The new one angered young people and left-liberals last week by summoning for questioning popular television comedian Bassem Youssef, for his satires on Morsi and general irreverence.
There were also demonstrations by April 6 youth activists in other cities. In El Fayoum there was allegedly a big rally, where clashes left 8 wounded. In Mansoura, a small April 6 demonstration was attacked by thugs wielding knives and iron bars.
April 6, 2008 was the date of the historic national strike called by young activists on Facebook to support labor actions among textile workers in al-Mahalla. The youth group that supported it took the name thereafter of April 6. It played an important role in calling for the January 25, 2011 demonstration that kicked off the Egyptian revolution. Saturday was the 5th anniversary of the group’s founding, and given its history its current stand against Morsi should not be discounted, even though the demonstrations were mostly small affairs this year.
There was also a Muslim-Christian clash in Shubra El Kheima to the north of Cairo on Saturday, but as far as I can tell it started when Muslim youth painted graffiti on a mosque, so there seems to be an intra-Muslim struggle in which some Christian shopkeepers got caught up, resulting in four deaths. [Later reports located the deaths at Khosous in Qalyubiya Governerate].
Copts in Cairo reacted angrily on Sunday, with hundreds demonstrating outside the city’s main Cathedral, with many demanding that President Morsi resign. The rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood has alarmed many of the country’s 8 million Coptic Christians (nearly the number of Christians in Greece), who are ten percent of Egypt’s 82 million population. The conjunction of the Copts with the New Left in demanding the fall of the government is an important development in Egyptian politics.