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Egypt Anti-Mursi Campaign Collects Signatures, Calls for Rallies

May 16 (Bloomberg) -- Egypt’s opposition has called for rallies next month and is amassing signatures to force President Mohamed Mursi from office and hold early presidential elections.

Opposition groups called for nationwide protests on June 30, the first anniversary of Mursi’s swearing in as Egypt’s first democratically elected civilian president.

It will be the “day of toppling the oppressive regime of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ahmed Bahaa Eddin Shaaban of the National Assembly for Change, a member of the main opposition National Salvation Front, told a televised press conference today.

Egypt’s opposition says Mursi has focused on entrenching the power of his Muslim Brotherhood and stifling dissent, instead of addressing the root causes of the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, such as unemployment and police brutality. Mursi’s government has blamed the opposition for violent protests that have delayed the economy’s recovery from its deepest slump in two decades.

The organizers of an opposition campaign called “Tamarod,” or rebellion, aim to collect 15 million signatures, which would outnumber the votes the Islamist president got in the 2012 election, demanding Mursi’s removal. Campaigners will then take the signatures to the Supreme Constitutional Court, demanding Mursi’s removal and an early presidential election, said Eslam Hammam, a spokesman for the campaign.

“Mursi has broken all his promises, a deteriorating economic and security situation, more poverty, things are actually getting worse and people are fed up,” Hammam said in a phone interview today. Tamarod has collected more than 2 million signatures in two weeks, he said.

Islamists have started counter-campaigns to support Mursi. Assem Abdel-Maged, a leading member of the Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya group, this week started a counter-initiative named “Tagarod,” or “Impartiality,” to collect signatures in support of the president, the state-run Middle East news agency reported.

To contact the reporter on this story: Salma El Wardany in Cairo at selwardany@bloomberg.net

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

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