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Political groups slam Morsy address to nation, react to Port Said violence

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Opposition groups have branded President Morsy’s Twitter response to the violence which has gripped the nation since Friday as “shameful”

Egypt’s political groups have reacted with anger to President Morsy’s response to the ongoing violence which has gripped the nation since Friday, the second anniversary of the January 25 Revolution.

Morsy addressed the nation at 1.30am, Saturday, via his official Twitter account.

Offering his condolences to the families of protesters and policemen killed, he promised “to pursue the thugs and present them to justice”.

He also promised protection of peaceful protests and called on Egyptians to reject violence and uphold “the noble principals of the revolution”.

“The president is making fun of his people,” said Heba Yassin, the media spokesperson for the Egyptian Popular Current. “Forty percent live in poverty and 60% have no computers or internet,” she added. “Using twitter to respond to these developments shows how little he knows about this country.”

She added that the president’s tweet came very late. “Eight people were dead by the time he responded,” she said. “Tweeting is not an appropriate way of offering condolences.”

Khaled Dawoud, the spokesperson for the country’s main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front (NSF), agreed with Yassin: “It’s a shameful way to respond to a disaster,” he said, adding that the response was disrespectful to those who died and showed how inefficient the president and his government were.

Violence also broke out on Saturday after the Port Said Criminal Court sentenced 21 people to death for killing at least 72 football fans in the match held in February 2012 between the Al-Ahly and Al-Masry football clubs.

“It’s sad and devastating,” said Yassin, commenting on the escalating violence in Port Said.

“There were threats of violent escalations,” she added. “Security forces should have made the necessary precautions.”

She said the Current rejected all violence against civilians, the police or the Ultras: “They are all Egyptians and human beings in the end.”

Ahmed Mawlana, spokesperson of Al-Shaab Party, a member of the Salafi Front group, disagreed with Yassin: “The verdict was just and suitable to the crime committed,” he said. He added that the relatives of the condemned who stormed the prison to free them had committed “a blatant violation of state authority”.

Khaled Dawoud, the spokesperson for the country’s main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front (NSF), said they had no comment on the rulings of the judiciary. Addressing the people of Port Said directly, he implored them not to turn to violence: “Killing more people will not help your case.” He added, “This is a first ruling and there’s still room for appeal.”

The NSF has threatened to boycott upcoming parliamentary elections if President Morsy doesn’t find a “comprehensive solution” to the unrest currently gripping the country, reported AFP.

They also called for the formation of what they termed “a national salvation government” to handle the crisis.

Mawlana on the other hand said that all the events which took place on Friday were designed to fabricate a crisis.

He added that Friday was the revolution’s anniversary, and that “facilities and institutions were not attacked when the people revolted against a dictator like Mubarak, so why resort to violence when we have an elected president?”

We contacted the Freedom and Justice Party and the Muslim Brotherhood but they refused to comment.

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