Monday’s papers: Judiciary, opposition and media criticize Brotherhood

President Mohamed Morsy and his Muslim Brotherhood have come under intense criticism from opposition forces, the judiciary, and today, the press. Monday’s papers are full of news pertaining to the alleged shortcomings of the president, the Brotherhood and its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party.

Fallout from last week’s confrontations with the public prosecutor and opposition forces in Tahrir continue to haunt Morsy and the Brotherhood today.

Last Friday’s protests were dubbed “Holding the President Accountable,” yet Brotherhood supporters were bused into Tahrir Square during this same event to protest against the general prosecutor in light of the judiciary’s acquittal of 24 officials from the Mubarak regime accused of orchestrating an deadly armed attack on Tahrir on 2–3 February 2011, known as the “Battle of the Camel.”  

Some papers have referred to the Brotherhood supporters’ attack in Tahrir Friday as being the “Second Battle of the Camel.” Other papers refer to these most recent clashes as the “Battle of the Brotherhood.”

The nominally independent yet anti-Brotherhood paper Al-Dostour runs headlines reading, “Regime openly protects criminals, thugs and militias” and “Tahrir Square belongs to the Brotherhood only, nobody can peacefully protest against Morsy.” Al-Dostour goes so far as to claim that the Brotherhood “burnt down two of their own buses following these clashes in attempt to blame opposition forces.”

Following these clashes between Brotherhood supporters and opponents of Morsy’s rule, dozens of political groups are calling for a “million-man” protest against the ruling regime this Friday.

The protests, called “Masr mish ezba,” or “Egypt is not your private ranch,” are being organized against the ruling regime nationwide. The independent Al-Watan newspaper mentions that “40 parties and movements call for a ‘million-man march’ in response to the ‘Brotherhood’s Battle of the Camel.’”

In the independent Al-Shorouk newspaper, a headline reads, “Civilian forces resort to the street and judiciary to confront the Brotherhood.” This article mentions that “lawsuits and legal charges have come raining down upon the Brotherhood and its leaders” while protests and boycotts of the ruling regime are being organized.

“Egyptian Popular Current and Constitution Party call for marches this Friday titled ‘Masr mish ezba,‘” reads a headline in Youm7. The article mentions that these protests also aim at restructuring the Constituent Assembly in a more balanced and representative manner, and for realizing the 25 January revolution’s demand of social justice.

The liberal opposition Al-Wafd newspaper runs a headline reading, “Uprising against the Brotherhood following Tahrir clashes.” This paper mentions “553 legal complaints filed against Brotherhood on charges of instigating a civil war.” Al-Wafd also alleges that the Brotherhood supreme guide put forth the plan to attack anti-Morsy protesters in Tahrir.

The Brotherhood and FJP have a completely different narrative regarding last Friday’s clashes. Al-Shorouk quotes leading FJP member Essam al-Erian, who claims that he has “audio and video recordings, as well as photos revealing that certain [non-Brotherhood] figures were responsible for instigating the clashes in Tahrir — with the aim of creating schisms between Egypt’s revolutionary forces.”

Meanwhile, the FJP’s mouthpiece, Freedom and Justice newspaper, is in full self-pity mode. The front page is covered with photos of wounded and bandaged Brotherhood members, along with a photo of their burning bus. The FJP paper describes these injured Brotherhood members as being “victims of an organized conspiracy against the Brotherhood.”

The FJP paper mentions only that its members were “chanting peacefully” in the square, and were “attempting to control scuffles” that had broken out between non-Brotherhood members. There is no mention that Brotherhood was involved in clashes, or the tearing down of an opposition stage in the square. Several pages of alleged personal accounts — all narratives of victims of aggression — are found within the paper under the headline, “FJP publishes accounts of injured Brotherhood members in Tahrir strife.”

Perhaps to serve as a distraction from popular anger toward Morsy and the Brotherhood, the FJP paper also dedicates several of its pages to a feature titled “10 reasons why the Battle of the Camel’s acquittal verdicts are flawed.” This feature raises several valid points regarding these acquittals, including: the lack of independence of the judiciary; a trial of the actors, not the instigators, of the battle; and perjury among witnesses, as well as other points.

Other FJP headlines pertaining to this subject include “Innocence of the camel … Crisis of the general prosecutor … Masks fall.” The FJP, however, appears to be reconciling itself with the fact that Abdel Meguid Mahmoud will stay on in his post of public prosecutor, and not be appointed ambassador to the Vatican, as reports had suggested.

Al-Shorouk, citing unnamed diplomatic sources, runs a headline reading, “Vatican would have rejected Abdel Meguid Mahmoud’s candidacy” as Egyptian ambassador. The article mentions that, even if Morsy had the authority to dispatch Mahmoud to the Vatican, the Holy See might have declined his candidacy due to the popular outrage directed toward him in Egypt following the acquittal in the Battle of the Camel. The diplomatic source mentions that, if Mahmoud was accepted as the Egyptian ambassador this could have led to worsening — and even catastrophic — relations between Egypt and the Holy See.

Al-Shorouk runs another headline titled “Judiciary scores three times in Morsy’s goal.” The article mentions that the “first goal” was scored by the Supreme Constitutional Court on 30 June during Morsy’s inauguration. The newly elected president had sought to swear the oath before Parliament, which the court had dissolved one month earlier.

The second goal came 11 July, when Morsy attempted to reconvene the dissolved Parliament, yet the judiciary had its way and scored again, Al-Shorouk writes. The third goal was scored by the public prosecutor, who held his job despite presidential attempts to dislodge him, on 13 October.

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-Watan: 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

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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