Egypt Prosecutor Summons Opposition Over Weekend Clashes

Egyptian prosecutors summoned four opposition leaders over violence outside the Muslim Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters, a day after President Mohamed Mursi warned he may take action to “protect the nation.”

Head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party Mohamed Abu El-Ghar and leading National Salvation Front member Mahmoud El- Alaily were among those summoned after clashes on March 22 between opponents and supporters of Islamist-backed Mursi, said Tarek Abu Zaid, a senior official with the Southern Cairo Prosecutor’s office, in a faxed statement today.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which backed Mursi for the presidency, yesterday lodged a complaint against several opposition figures, the state-run Ahram Gate reported. The list includes former presidential candidate and lawyer Khaled Ali and blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Ahram Gate said. The unrest left more than 200 people injured.

Mursi is facing growing discontent among a secularist and youth opposition that says he has sold out the nation’s interests for those of the Brotherhood. His critics say little has changed for the better since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak and brought him to power.

“This is the time to say enough Mursi, you have broken all of your promises with no plan for reform,” the April 6 Youth Movement said in a statement on its facebook page today. “We are seeing nothing but more corruption, chaos, poverty, price hikes, unemployment and thuggery.” It called for mass demonstrations on April 6.

Defense Minister Abdelfatah Al-Seesi said all elements of society must unite in face of “the economic, social and security challenges” facing Egypt, in a statement carried by the state-run Middle East News Agency. Al-Seesi in January warned Egypt might “collapse” under the weight of its turmoil.

Mursi also said yesterday that “necessary measures” would be taken against politicians shown to be involved in what he described as violence and rioting.

Former telecommunications minister Hazem Abdel Azim, and political activist Khaled Telima were the two other opposition members summoned today. It wasn’t immediately clear if all of those listed in the Muslim Brotherhoods complaint would eventually be summoned by the prosecutor.

Meanwhile, the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest appellate court, ordered the retrial of former Oil Minister Sameh Fahmy, setting aside a 15-year prison sentence, according to MENA. The decision to retry Fahmy was the latest in a number of reversals of rulings against Mubarak-era officials.

To contact the reporters on this story: Salma El Wardany in Cairo at selwardany@bloomberg.net; Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at teltablawy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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