LATEST: Egypt — Mass Rallies for Former President Morsi

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We are expecting mass protests on Friday both of supporters and opponents of former President Morsi, nine days after he was overthrown by the military and four days after almost 50 pro-Morsi protesters were killed by security forces who fired on a sit-in.

The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, has called for a national protest for “legitimacy” to back up Morsi, who is still reportedly under house arrest in Republican Guards Headquarters. The former President’s supporters are also continuing their mass sit-in at the Rabaa El-Adewaya Mosque in the Cairo suburb of Nasr City.

Opponents of Morsi have said they will hold a communal Iftar meal, breaking the Ramadan fast, in Tahrir Square and outside the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace.

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Egypt — Mass Rallies for Former President Morsi

Tens of thousands of supporters of toppled pPresident Mohamed Morsi have rallied at the main sit-in at Rabaa El-Adewaya Mosque in a Cairo suburb. w

The broad intersection for the gathering was already filled early Friday, ahead of afternoon prayers. Protesters waved flags as patriotic and pro-Morsi songs were played on the main stage, where a big banner read “Anti-Coup” in English. An imam mourned “Islamist martyrs” in a Friday sermon and urged those assembled to continue their sit-in.

There were also large marches in Giza to defend the former President’s “legitimacy”.

Egypt — Constitutional Declaration: Strong Egypt Party Rejects; National Salvation Front Proposes Amendments

The Strong Egypt Party yesterday rejected the constitutional declaration made by interim president Adly Mansour on the grounds that it gave the interim president executive, legislative and constitutional powers.

In a statement, the party said “This establishes a dictatorship previously rejected by all political democratic forces when the elected president had all these powers.” It also noted that “A vague article allowing for detention on reasons of allegedly protecting the society’s ‘security’ in the constitutional declaration is considered a huge setback in the course of freedom.”

The Strong Egypt Party also raised concerns about the level of influence held by the military, noting that “According to the current formation of the National Defence Council, the majority of its members are from the military, which is a threat to the civil state.”

Meanwhile, the National Salvation Front has proposed amendments to the constitutional declaration, declaring that no single party or grouop alone should have the “right to oppose proposals or decisions in a way that hampers the progress of the political process and excludes some figures of notable status and capacity from participation.”

The NSF called for the formation of a cabinet based upon those who led the 25 January 2011 revolution and urged the judicial committee investigating the killing of over 50 Morsi supporters on Monday to expedite the process. It also stressed the importance of ensuring public freedoms, suggesting that the decision to suspend any media organization should be the responsibility of the judiciary.

Egypt – Dwindling Foreign Exchange Reserves Contribute to Food Insecurity

A report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation released yesterday claims that civil unrest and dwindling foreign exchange reserves have raised serious food security concerns in Egypt.

The report’s conclusions seem to be corroborated by former Minister of Supplies, Bassem Ouda, who noted yesterday that the country has less than two months’ supply of imported wheat left in its stocks.The UN FAO warned in its Crop Prospects and Food Situation report that declining foreign exchange reserves may result in increased restrictions on transactions by Egypt’s Central Bank, thus curtailing the imports.

Egypt – Brotherhood Without Violence: “Release Morsi and We’ll Stop Violence”

The Brotherhood Without Violence movement, a Muslim Brotherhood youth organisation, has declared that it will stop violence in exchange for the release of former president Mohamed Morsi, Hazem Abu Ismail, and other Brotherhood leaders.

Ahmed Yehia, coordinator of the movement, called for early presidential elections (before parliamentary elections), the banning of military trials for civilians, and the amendment of the Constitutional Declaration issued by interim President Adly Mansour. He urged all groups to engage in a national dialogue and develop guidelines for the transition period, as well as the setting up of an impartial fact-finding committee of independent judges to investigate recent acts of violence.

Turkey – Gezi Forum Attacked, Anti-Capitalist Muslims Call to “Fight Fascism”

A group of men armed with knives and sticks attacked a Gezi forum in Kocamustafapaşa in the neighbourhood of the conservative Istanbul district Fatih yesterday.

The forum was held to commemorate Ali İsmail Korkmaz, who died after being beaten by unidentified people in the Eskişehir protests on June 2. The attackers told the crowd to leave the site and to “go to Taksim.” In response, the Anti-Capitalist Muslims group has announced iftar plans to take place in Kocamustafaşa tonight, calling on people to set tables on Kocamustafaşa Square “to fight fascism.” The group is known for its pro-Gezi stance and has been involved in the protests since they first erupted in late May.

Egypt – Attacks on Checkpoints in Sinai Kill Policeman, Injure Another

Militants have killed one policeman and injured another in an attack at a security checkpoint in the northern city of Al-Arish in the Sinai peninsular near the border with Israel.

The militants used rocket-propelled grenades, which were also used in separate attacks on a police station and two army checkpoints in the city earlier today.

Iraq – At Least 51 Killed In Violence Yesterday

At least 51 people were killed in a wave of violence across Iraq yesterday, with just three attacks killing at least 38.

According to a police officer, last night a suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden motorcycle into a funeral tent for a Shiite family in Muqdadiyah (90 kilometres north of Baghdad). It is unclear exactly how many people died, but some reports suggest at least 13 were killed with 22 wounded.

The second attack occurred in the northern town of Dujail when a car bomb exploded outside a Shiite mosque. The mayor of the town, Nayif al-Khazrachi, said another bomb went off as people gathered to help those injured by the first. Again, the number of casualties is unclear but reports suggest at least 11 were killed and 21 wounded by the two explosions.

In a third attack yesterday, 11 police and 3 soldiers were killed by gunmen on the road between Haditha and Baiji, northwest of the Iraqi capital.