Abu Ismail blames opposition alliance for violence

Former presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail said Monday that violence in Egypt appeared with the formation of the National Salvation Front, an alliance of at least 20 secular leaning political groups.

The front had been formed to protest Egypt's new, Islamist-backed constitution. Clashes between group members and supporters of President Mohamed Morsy outside the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace in December left 10 dead.

 Abu Ismail, in an interview late Monday with Mehwar satellite channel, said it was in Islamists' interest to reject the new constitution, but added that they had to approve it to end disputes that surrounded the drafting process.

He added that he does not have any disagreement with former Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin and had not asked for his removal.

Abu Ismail's supporters had called for and then canceled a protest outside the Dokki police station last month after the arrest of a number of his backers over the burning of Wafd Party's main office in Cairo at the same month. Abu Ismail denied links to the attack on Wafd Party and to protesters outside the police station .

Abu Ismail also defended the protest by his supporters outside the Egyptian Media Production City condemning what they alleged were increasing media attacks against Islamists.

"The protesters did not resort to intimidation," he said. "Egypt is now in a state of relative calm, everybody should remember who is seeking to return it to chaos."

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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