Pressure mounts for Morsi release as Egypt clashes kill 10

Agence France-Presse, Haitham El-Tabei
Pressure on Egypt's new leadership to release Mohamed Morsi from detention grow as clashes between supporters and opponents of the deposed Islamist president leave 10 people dead

CAIRO, Egypt – Pressure grew Tuesday on Egypt’s new leaders to release Mohamed Morsi from detention as clashes between supporters and opponents of the deposed Islamist president left 10 people dead.

The clashes broke out on Monday and raged through the night, wounding dozens of people, a day after Morsi’s family vowed to sue the military over his ouster.

The interior ministry warned Tuesday it would deal with any lawlessness “firmly and decisively” while urging “everyone of all affiliations to maintain peaceful expressions of opinion” following the latest bloodshed.

At least six people were killed early Tuesday when opponents of Morsi attacked supporters of the ousted president staging a sit-in near Cairo University, state media reported.

In the Al-Nahda area near the university, at least 16 cars had been torched in the clashes, an AFP correspondent said.

On Tuesday, 1,000-2,000 pro-Morsi demonstrators remained in the square.

Some of them had surrounded a pool of blood from the night’s clashes with stones, and put up a sign saying it was where a “martyr” fell during the violence.

Morsi’s family told a news conference on Monday they would take legal action against the military for having “kidnapped” the elected president after he was deposed in a popularly backed coup on July 3.

Egypt’s new leadership says Morsi is in a “safe” place for his own good.

Calls for his release have also been issued by the United States, Germany, the United Nations and the European Union.

“It is now of utmost importance that Egypt embarks on a transition, allowing a transfer of power to a civilian-led and democratically elected government,” EU foreign ministers said on Monday.

They listed demands, including “the release of all political detainees, including Mohamed Morsi” — reiterating remarks EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton made last week in Cairo.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement has also vowed to sustain protests until his reinstatement and refuse to recognise the interim government installed by the military ahead of new elections early next year.

Tuesday’s violence came a day after Morsi’s supporters marched on the US embassy, setting off a gunfight with opponents in the nearby Tahrir Square that killed one protester.

Later in Qalyub, north of Cairo, street battles killed three people, one of them run over by a train as he tried to escape the violence.

As violence flared, interim president Adly Mansour appealed in a speech delivered late on Monday for a “new page in the book of the history of the nation, without rancour, hatred and confrontation”.

But Morsi’s detention, and subsequent arrests of senior Brotherhood leaders, have hardened his supporters against dealing with the new regime.

His daughter Shaimaa Mohamed Morsi told reporters on Monday that the family would sue army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and also take legal action outside Egypt.

“We are taking local and international legal measures against Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the leader of the bloody military coup, and his putschist group,” she said.

Morsi’s son Osama said the family had not heard from him since his overthrow. “None of us has had any contact with our father since the afternoon of the coup on July 3,” he told reporters.

The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, summoned Egypt’s ambassador to Geneva this month and wrote to the new authorities in Cairo demanding explanations over Morsi’s arrest.

Members of the now-dissolved upper house of parliament, which had been dominated by Islamists, held a defiant meeting in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.

Chanting “Sisi killer,” and anti-police slogans, demonstrators also hung pictures of the ousted president on the gates of the public prosecutor’s office on Monday.

Although mostly peaceful, the pro-Morsi protests have resulted in deadly clashes, with the unrest claiming more than 100 lives in all, according to an AFP tally.

In the bloodiest single incident, at least 53 people died, mostly Morsi supporters, during clashes with soldiers outside the elite military barracks where they believed Morsi was being held.

Violence has also swept the restive Sinai Peninsula, where militants have stepped up deadly attacks on security forces since Morsi’s ouster, including one on Monday that killed a police officer and a civilian. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.