Around forty members of the United Revolutionary Movement of Matruh (Takwa) gathered outside the presidential palace on Tuesday, claiming they were excluded from a meeting with President Mohamed Morsy. The protestors claimed they were excluded by local Islamist groups in discussions of their governorate, Matruh.
The peaceful demonstration outside the palace started at midday. The chants of “down with military rule, down with corruption” were led by Ayman Ghazee, an accountant from Marsa Matruh.
Ghazee said, “we object to the formation of the delegation that is speaking to the president. We object to the governor because he has not changed the military staff of the governorate office.”
Khaled Al-Senini said, “I was invited to the mosque last night by the Salafiya representatives. They offered to represent Takwa in the meeting with the president but I refused; we are not for sale.”
Takwa has members across the Libya-bordering governorate. Amongst the group were protestors from Dabaa, whose main concern is the plan to build a nuclear power plant next to their town.
Khadr Sluma, a resident of Dabaa said, “we refused the money the president offered us. We want them to build infrastructure, not a nuclear power plant. We went to the land where they are building the nuclear plant but there is nothing happening there.”
“The land in Dabaa is like a sponge and a nuclear plant will remove a lot of water from the land, which will weaken it. This increases the risk of earthquake damage.” Al-Senini said they fear that a nuclear power plant would be detrimental to their health.
Ezz Al-Din Jubran, a citizen of Marsa Matruh said, “we have so many problems in our governorate. We need clean water, better health care, jobs for the youth and the roads need repairing. These are only a few of our problems.”
Ghazee led the chanting as the peaceful protest moved across the road. The group were confronted multiple times by a woman who did not agree with their protest. She approached them angrily and accused them of being terrorists. The protesters were not provoked by the woman and continued to chant peacefully.
During his visit, three weeks ago, Morsy promised the people that he would address all of their problems in a meeting in Cairo. This prompted the end of a month long sit-in outside the governorate building in Marsa Matruh. Morsy responded to residents’ demands for a new governor and appointed Major General Ahmed Helmy Fathi Al-Hatimi to replace General Taha Mohamed Al-Sayed. There is concern that a civilian governor was not appointed but the people of Matruh are willing to give Al-Hatimi a chance.
Takwa have complained they were not included in the final list of delegates to meet the president. Khaled Al-Senini , a member of Takwa, alleges a former MP from the Salafi Al-Nour party punched him at a governorate meeting over this issue.
The delegation of Islamists arrived on Monday night for their meeting on Tuesday, according to Al-Senini. They were inside the palace whilst Takwa’s protest was taking place. Al-Senini said “the Salafiya and Muslim Brotherhood people inside are from Matruh and they know the problems. They will tell the president about the problems. We are protesting because we should be in there too.”
Al-Senini added: “We are angry because we spent a month outside the governorate building in Marsa Matruh. We took the first step and they have taken our cause from us so they can return to Matruh as heroes. They will be false heroes.”
Ghazee believes this problem is not only in Matruh, he said, “we need change around the whole country, we need a proper economy, we need to change the way the country is managed and we need development and freedom for everybody.” He added, “if that is too much, then I will sum it up: we need justice!”
Al-Senini said “I do not believe that there has been a revolution in Egypt. All around the country there has been no change. The military still run Matruh, the Salafiya and the Muslim Brotherhood act the same way as the previous regime. We need a real revolution.”
Daily News Egypt could not contact Salafiya or the Matruh Muslim Brotherhood.