Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi has warned critics, planning mass protests on Sunday to press for early elections, that he will not yield. Morsi singled out private media, saying his patience had run out.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi reviewed his first year in office with a wide-ranging televised speech late on Wednesday, admitting that he had made mistakes and warning his critics not to “impose opinions.”
Hours earlier, the Egyptian military said it was bringing reinforcements closer to Egypt’s main cities, apparently as a precaution if violence erupts on Sunday – the anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration as president in 2012.
Organizers of a campaign dubbed Tamarod (rebellion in Arabic) say they have collected more than 15 million signatures in support of a snap presidential election. They accuse Morsi of mismanagement and failing to bring about social justice.
Morsi, during his speech, insisted he was working for the goals of the revolution that toppled the former military-backed president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.
Hundreds of protestors watched his speech in Cairo’s Tahrir Square (pictured above) and outside the Defense Ministry. They chanted “leave.”
During his speech to cabinet ministers and officials from his Muslim Brotherhood in a Cairo conference hall, Morsi singled out a private satellite television channel, CBC, accusing it of obstructing the country’s political transition.
“One year is enough!” he said, referring to critics.
He also warned what he termed the “patriotic opposition,” saying he did not want to “inadvertently engage in an attack on the revolution.”
Protests were legitimate to “raise your opinion,” Morsi said, but protests should not be used to “impose your opinion.” He blamed security breaches on “thugs.”
He said one of his achievements was overseeing the drafting of Egypt’s new constitution. It was formulated by a mainly Islamist panel and slammed by the opposition for failing to represent a cross-section of Egyptians, including minority Coptic Christians.
He pledged “radical and quick” reforms in state institutions and said he would do more to involve Egypt’s youth by requiring provincial governors to appoint assistants under the age of 40.
Morsi backers plan a rally of their own on Friday in Cairo. The city’s Tahrir Square was the epicenter of the 2011 revolt that topped Mubarak.
Just hours before Morsi made his address, fighting erupted in the Nile Delta city of Mansura, where Islamists holding a rally were confronted by opponents.
At least one person was killed and 237 others were hurt, health ministry officials said. Two of the injured had bullet wounds, said medics.
ipj/slk (dpa, AP, AFP)