Saturday 29 June 2013

New Clashes in Egypt

Tensions have been rising in Egypt ahead of mass rallies planned by the opposition on Sunday, calling for President Morsi to step down. His supporters are stressing what they see as Mr Morsi's "legitimacy", rejecting the opposition's demand. Sunday is the first anniversary of the president's inauguration.
President Morsi earlier this week warned that divisions threatened to "paralyse" Egypt. He offered a dialogue with the opposition - a move rejected by his opponents. Mr Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, became Egypt's first Islamist president on 30 June 2012, after winning an election considered free and fair. His first year as president has been marred by constant political unrest and a sinking economy.
BBC, 'US warns against Egypt travel after deadly clashes', BBC 29 June 2013 

To offset the possibility that the Morsi government might be tempted to use antiquities in some way to turn foreign opinion against the opposition demonstrators, the latter issued an appeal to  protesters and military to protect Egypt's archaeological sites and museums on 30 June anti-govt rallies.
The Revolution Youth Union (RYU) has asked protesters and the military to protect the country’s archaeological sites and museums ahead of anticipated protests.
The union's media spokesman Omar El-Hadary stated in a press conference that archaeological sites are no less important than banks and governmental institutions, which the police and army have planned to secure during 30 June demonstrations.
'Revolution Youth Union calls on Egypt military to protect antiquities on 30 June', Ahram Online , Thursday 27 Jun 2013.

Meanwhile, in order not to be considered neglecting their job the Antiquities Ministry has assured everyone that they have the situation in hand: 
Major General Abdel Rahim Hassan, director of the Tourism and Antiquities Police (TAP)’s general administration, asserted that the TAP has drawn up a plan to protect monuments, archaeological sites and museums all over the country in collaboration with central security and MSA guards. According to Hassan, these plans were designed to accommodate rumors that the well organised antiquities 'Mafia' will take advantage of the 30th June protests. Hassan asserted that tight security measures were being undertaken in all zones of interest, including security checkpoints equipped with armed forces, ambulances and fire brigades. “The Ministry of Interior is capable of safeguarding Egypt’s heritage, history and future from any risk,” confirmed Hassan.
(Nevine El-Aref, 'Egypt prepares to safeguard heritage before 30 June', Ahram Online, Friday 28 Jun 2013). "Any", that is apart from the endemic looting and encroachment and other damage that has already been going on for the past two and a half years?

Vignette: President Morsi addresses crowd.

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