- Middle East/North Africa
Hundreds of protesters marched through down-town Cairo on Friday chanting, ''down with the rule of the (Muslim Brotherhood's) Supreme Guide,” and against what they called the “Brotherhoodization” of the state.
'The Supreme Guide ordered the government and administration to spread the group's members and supporters like a cancer in all the state's main institutions,” Ahmed Bahaa El-Din, Secretary General of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) told Egypt Independent.
The demonstration came a week after a series of much larger protests held against the Brotherhood by forces not identified with the left. The 24 August protests were largely supported by those who either expressed sympathy with the former regime of Hosni Mubarak, or for political figures strongly associated with his regime.
Kamal Khalil, founder of the Workers Democratic Party, who initially called for the protests, lead the demonstrators, through down-town Cairo, passing in-front of the Supreme Court and toward Tahrir square.
They held banners likening elected President Mohamed Morsy, a leading member of the group before his election, to ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
"Morsy needs to prove to that he's a president for all the people not the Muslim Brotherhood's deputy," Doaa Zeyad, 25 told Egypt Independent.
The protesters accused the Brotherhood of monopolizing the state's institutions, including state media, governorates, ministries, the constituent assembly responsible for drafting the constitutions and local councils.
However, Rashad Bayoumi, Deputy Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood vehemently rejected the accusations.
“This is pure nonsense and these accusations are completely groundless,” Bayoumi told Egypt Independent.
The protesters demanded that the Brotherhood be officially registered as an NGO and that its funding be therefore monitored by the state.
Increasing the minimum wage to 1,500, releasing all those imprisoned under sentences of military courts, rejecting the proposed International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, and refusing a safe exit to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, were also among the protesters demands.
“It's like the people are hunting for mistakes [from Morsy],” the Brotherhood's Bayoumi said. The new President has been in power less than three months.
Bayoumi said that the Brotherhood backed an increase in the minimum wage, and supported the release of those imprisoned for “political” reasons by the military courts.
"As for the IMF funds there have been extensive debates on them and their economic benefits," he argued.
Last month, Egypt requested a $4.8 billion loan during a Cairo meeting between President Mohamed Morsy and the fund's chief Christine Lagarde.
Leftist parties were outraged by the request, saying that it would bury Egypt in debt and harm it economically and politically.
The protest was dominated by leftist parties including Al-Tagammu Party, the Egyptian Socialist Party, Kefaya Opposition movement and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party.
"The leftist parties paved the way for the 25 January revolution along with the April 6 Youth ovement through several protests and calls for social justice," said Bahaa El-Din of the SPAP. “Then the Brotherhood came along and hijacked the revolution and used it for its personal gains.”
After the 18-day revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak, the competition on the political scene was limited between the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists, and liberal parties, while the leftist parties were side-lined.
“The leftist parties have always been a thorn in any regime's back, they go through weak phases like the one following the revolution, like other parties, but they go through strong phases as well,' said Tarek Saeed, member of Al-Karama party's executive bureau.
He argued that the leftists best represent the demands for bread, freedom, and social justice which motivated the revolution.
The protesters said that they expected the low turn out, emphasizing that they called for a march, not a million man march or mass protests.
“But this is the beginning of a series of protests that where we will reiterate our demands until they are heeded by the government,” said Karima A-Hifnawy, Secretary General of the Egyptian Socialist Party.