- Middle East/North Africa
The founder of the Popular Current and member of National Salvation Front Hamdeen Sabbahi told protesters in Tahrir Square Friday that he is committed to their calls to boycott President Mohamed Morsy’s call for national dialogue.
Sabbahi addressed demonstrators in Tahrir as others flocked to the presidential palace in Heliopolis. Sabbahi had previously announced that he would not participate in protests at the palace so that he could not be accused of trying to topple the president.
“Mohamed Morsy calls on us to have a dialogue, and you are the decision makers. Should we go for dialogue or not?” Sabbahi asked the crowd in Tahrir, which he called the “capital of the Egyptian revolution.”
The protesters chanted in response, “The people want to topple the regime.”
“The protesters in Tahrir Square last Friday demanded the cancellation of the [new] constitutional declaration, but after the bloodshed we won’t put our hands in those of the one who killed new martyrs in this country,” Sabbahi said.
Sabbahi also condemned burning the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, saying, “We don’t use bullets, we condemn whoever shoots any Egyptian even if he or she was a member of the group,” referring to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Protesters began to gather in the square Friday morning to take part in a demonstration, called for by 21 political parties, against the recent constitutional declaration and upcoming constitutional referendum.
Protesters chanted slogans against President Mohamed Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood as they marched through the square.
Demonstrators are demanding the cancellation of Morsy's 22 November constitutional declaration, in which he granted himself sweeping authority, as well as the 15 December constitutional referendum. They are also calling for a reformed Constituent Assembly that would guarantee a balanced constitution.
They also called for the dismissal of the Cabinet and restructuring of the Interior Ministry.
The Journalists Syndicate council also called for a march on Friday following unofficial reports of the death of Al-Fagr photojournalist Al-Husseini Abu Deif, who was shot in the head with birdshot during the presidential palace clashes on Wednesday.
The council also demanded that a complaint against Ahmed Mohamed Ali Sebei, a syndicate member and a spokesperson for the Freedom and Justice Party, be referred to the syndicate's general assembly. Thirteen members filed the complaint alleging that Sebei was involved in beating protesters during Wednesday's clashes and responsible for inciting the attack on Abu Deif.