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National Rescue Front in action

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Liberal forces unite to oppose presidential constitutional declaration

ElBaradei, Sabahi, Amr Mousaa lead civil parties march to Tahrir on Friday against latest presidential decree. (DNE / Basil Al-Dabh)

ElBaradei, Sabahi, Amr Mousaa lead civil parties march to Tahrir on Friday against latest presidential decree. (DNE / Basil Al-Dabh)

Just a day following their launch, the National Rescue Front (NRF) announced a schedule of events to reinforce the sit-in currently being held in Tahrir square.

The NRF was mainly launched to oppose the constitutional declaration issued by President Mohamed Morsy on Thursday.

The declaration fired the former Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud and stated that Morsy’s decisions cannot be reversed by the judiciary.

The events start with documentaries and concerts held in Tahrir square on Sunday. Student marches to the square shall start Monday afternoon from Cairo University and Ain Shams University; while in the evenings, a symposium on the current political situation is to be held in the square. The speakers are: novelist Alaa Al-Aswany, journalist Abdel Haleem Qandil, and former presidential hopeful Khaled Aly.

“What we’re going through is a historical turning-point,” Heba Yasin, official spokesperson of the Popular Current said. “If the president doesn’t respond to our demands, we shall peacefully escalate our approach.”

The NRF is demanding the cancellation of Morsy’s constitutional declaration. They announced that they would not engage in dialogue with the authorities unless the declaration was cancelled.

“The front wasn’t established just to overcome this declaration crisis,” Al-Dostour party’s media office spokesperson said, saying the NRF shall remain in action even if the declaration is revoked.

“The union of all civilian powers is mandatory in order to overcome the attempt to hijack power in Egypt,” he said, adding Egypt is turning to a, “Brotherhood-ised, not even Islamist, state.”

The NRF released a statement on Saturday night condemning the “blatant violence” exercised against former presidential candidate Abu Al-Ezz Al-Hariri and lawyer Hamdy Al-Fakharany.

Al-Hariri claims he was abused by Muslim Brotherhood members in Alexandria on Friday night and released photos of his battered face and chest. Similarly, state-owned Al-Ahram showed photos of a severely bruised Hamdy Al-Fakhrany. The former independent MP claims he was assaulted in Mahalla, where demonstrations turned violent.

The NRF also condemned a report filed to the new prosecutor general against Ain Shams University professor and Al-Dostour leader, Hossam Eissa, describing it as “malicious.” The report was the first to be filed to the new prosecutor general Tal’at Abdallah by lawyer Adel Mo’awad. It accused Eissa, alongside Judges Club head, Ahmed Al-Zend, and Al-Fakharany, of inciting civil disobedience, refusing the president’s decisions, and attempting to overthrow the government, reported Al-Ahram.

Pro-declaration parties did not welcome news of the NRF’s establishment.

“We invite everyone for dialogue,” Ahmed Sobei, spokesperson of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), said, “there should be constructive dialogue to guarantee that the president doesn’t take decisions alone.”

Sobei described the NRF’s refusal to engage in dialogue as an attempt to “twist arms” which “goes against the concept of democracy.”

The moderate Islamist Al-Wasat party had a similar stance. The party’s spokesperson, Amr Farouk, criticised the NRF’s lack of dialogue, stating “it’s impossible to revoke the constitutional declaration since it partially answers popular demands, which most people approve of, including the demands to fire the prosecutor general and retry the figures of the former regime.”

The NRF includes at least 35 political movements; most notably Al-Dostour party, the Popular Current, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP), Al-Wafd Party and 6 April Movement (democratic front).

Lawyer Hamid Seddiq reportedly filed a report to the prosecutor general on Sunday against Al-Dostour Party head, Mohamed ElBaradei, Popular Current head, Hamdeen Sabahy, and Al-Wafd Party head, Sayed Al-Badawi. Seddiq accused the party heads in his report of coordinating with foreign forces in order to fabricate internal conflicts, incite people to overthrow the government, and sabotage the January 2011 revolution.


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