Nation & World News

Massive Crowds Call For Egyptian President’s Ouster

By Mark Memmott on July 1st, 2013

(Most recent update: 7:08 p.m. ET.)

As Egyptians gathered Sunday in Cairo and other cities for what are expected to be the largest protests so far against the year-old government of President Mohammed Morsi, some in the streets were telling NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson that they expect he will be toppled in much the same way as President Hosni Mubarak was in February 2011.

One protester told Soraya that Morsi is a “wounded lion in a corner … if he attacks us, he loses … if he doesn’t attack us, he loses.”

At midday in Cairo, Soraya said on Weekend Edition Sunday, things were peaceful. But there were concerns that pro-Morsi Egyptians might clash with the protesters later in the day. Many eyes, she said, are on the Egyptian army. Its leaders have said they will “protect the will of the people.” Protesters say that means the army will defend them, as it did at times during the Arab Spring protests against Mubarak. But Morsi’s supporters say it means the army will stand up for the democratically elected president.

As for Morsi, he’s told The Guardian that he will not accede to demands that he step down or call a new election. “If we changed someone in office who [was elected] according to constitutional legitimacy — well, there will people or opponents opposing the new president too, and a week or a month later, they will ask him to step down,” Morsi said.

Soraya explained Saturday that much of the discontent about the president stems from the country’s deep economic problems. “Gasoline at the moment is very hard to come by,” she said. “It’s about four dollars a gallon, if you can even find it. Food prices have gone up, so has cooking gas and everything else. So, there’s been no relief for the people, which is what they seeking since toppling President Mubarak two years ago.”

The protests turned deadly on Friday. At least three people were killed in Alexandria, including Kenyon College student Andrew Pochter, 21, from Chevy Chase, Md. Another four people have reportedly also died in recent clashes.

Update at 7:08 p.m. ET. 4 Dead, 200 Injured:

Soraya filed this story for our Newscast unit:

“Protesters in Cairo were marching toward the presidential palace and Tahrir Square, although Morsi was nowhere near either location.

The scene was similar to the days leading up to Mubarak’s forced departure in 2011. The protesters say Morsi’s failed to fix the economy and given too much political power to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Morsi’s supporters armed themselves with sticks and staged their own rallies near the protesters.

Fear of the two sides clashing is high, as there are no signs of Egyptian police or soldiers on the streets.

A Morsi spokesman in a news conference renewed a call for national dialogue. His tone was softer than that of the president in recent days, who calls the protesters criminals and foreign agents.”

Update at 4:15 p.m. ET. Some Violence, One Death Reported:

According to the BBC, “huge protests calling for the resignation of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi and early presidential elections are taking place in the capital, Cairo, and other cities. Tens of thousands of opponents have massed in Tahrir Square and outside the main presidential palace. One man died when rival groups clashed in a city south of the capital. In Cairo, stones and petrol bombs were thrown at the headquarters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.”

Update at 2:15 p.m. ET. “Hundreds Of Thousands” In Streets:

“Hundreds of thousands of people across Egypt have filled the streets” to call for Morsi’s departure, the Guardian now reports.

Return to the top of this post.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Pope Francis opens the morning session of a two-week synod on family issues at the Vatican, on Saturday.

Vatican Bishops Scrap Opening To Gays, Divorced Members

Earlier this week an interim summary of the synod on family issues included conciliatory language on gays and on the taking of holy communion for divorced church members.


An artist's rendering of the flyby with Mars orbiters taking cover. Note that the image says "spacecraft not to scale."

Mars Probes Give Scientists Box Seats For Rare Comet Flyby

A “mountain-sized” comet known as Siding Spring will pass very close to the red planet, where orbiters from the U.S., Europe and India, hope to get close – but not too close — to the action.


Pro-democracy protesters set up new barricades after riot police retreated from a main road at Mong Kok shopping district in Hong Kong early Saturday.

Hong Kong Activists Clash With Police, Retake Protest Site

Pro-democracy protesters have replaced barricades in the congested Mong Kong district of the city hours after authorities dismantled the obstacles.


People stand on the island's south shore to feel the winds from approaching Hurricane Gonzalo, in Astwood Park, Bermuda on Friday. The storm has knocked out power to half of the residents of the British island territory.

Hurricane Gonzalo Hits Bermuda; Ana To Skirt Past Hawaii

In the British island territory, Gonzalo has wiped out power to roughly half of the island’s 70,000 inhabitants.


The Supreme Court early Saturday declined to block a Texas Voter ID law for the November election.

Supreme Court Lets Texas Enforce Voter ID Law For Nov. Election

With three justices dissenting, the high court’s ruling effectively blocks a lower federal court decision declaring the law restrictive and unconstitutional.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments