Thursday’s papers: A plot to burn Egypt on 25 January

Thursday’s papers: A plot to burn Egypt on 25 January

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Thu, 22/12/2011 - 12:25

Both national and independent newspapers this morning highlight talk surrounding plans for the first anniversary of the revolution.

Privately owned Al-Dostour leads with a high-ranking military official, who alleges, “Foreign and internal elements are involved in inducing chaos and clashes between the people and the army.” The source adds that this "second revolution" is solely designed to incite clashes with the army and burn vital buildings around the country.

The purported plan aims to lure “pure” youths in an attempt to subvert the democratic process, foil the military, and bring down the state by starting with peaceful marches, demonstrations and sit-ins on 25 January that will eventually turn into skirmishes with the army and police.

The source also said officials will monitor any attempts to create chaos and spark a civil war between the people and the army, which could open the door to foreign intervention.

Al-Dostour's front page quotes presidential hopeful Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh as saying, “The SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) did not come to power through a referendum, and hence shouldn't leave with one.” Fotouh stresses the importance of having an elected civilian authority to stop the recurrent violence around Tahrir Square and demands the SCAF punish all security forces who shot people and harassed women. Al-Dostour also reports that Fotouh wants SCAF head Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi to address the people directly and apologize for the military's treatment of young women.

Independent Al-Shorouk leads with, “Justice minister states that Maspero and Mohamed Mahmoud events were foreign-funded.” The minister, according to the article, alleges that a number of civil society organizations and NGOs have received money from abroad that is being used to destroy the country.

Hundreds of protesters attended the funeral of Mostafa al-Sayed Abbas, who was fatally injured on Qasr al-Aini Street during fighting over the past week, Al-Shorouk reports. Following the funeral at Omar Makram mosque, hundreds marched around the square carrying Abbas' coffin and demanding justice and revenge.

Party paper Al-Wafd leads with the headline: “SCAF split over handover, and Islamists vow to protect SCAF with blood.” The report that follows say the majority of SCAF is refusing to hand over power in June. It explains that Tantawi and his supporters have consistently stood against the revolution since Mubarak stepped down, as evidenced by their formation of weak civilian governments and "imaginary trials" for figures from the Mubarak regime.

Ibrahim Zahran, head of the Egyptian Liberation Party, claims the SCAF will not hand over power, and therefore lawmakers elected in the first and second stages of parliamentary polls should elect a five-member presidential council that represents Egypt's political spectrum.

Al-Wafd also reports that Islamists are vowing to protect the country's military leaders. Assem Abdel Maged, a spokesperson for Jama'a al-Islamiya, said that the sit-in outside the cabinet ― where the clashes of the last week began ― was far from peaceful and prevented the new prime minister from doing his job. Nour Party head Emad Abdel Ghafour said that no more than 200 Salafis are currently in Tahrir, a number that he considers to be relatively small. The Egyptian people should push for their rights, but his party prefers political solutions and peaceful initiatives, he added.

State-run Al-Ahram reports that the justice minister has uncovered criminal plans. Minister Adel Abdel Hamid said preliminary investigations proved that unidentified people paid young children and older youths to burn and sabotage vital buildings in the country, according to the paper. He reportedly added that eyewitnesses saw people distributing empty bottles and gasoline containers in Tahrir to make Molotov cocktails.

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party