Egyptian Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, called on Wednesday for a “million-man march” on June 21 to counter a planned protest by the opposition outside the presidential palace at the end of the month.
Islamist parties meeting on Wednesday announced plans to organize a march in front of Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque on the proposed day. The march will be held under the slogan ‘Protect the revolution. Yes to peace, no to violence.’
An opposition-backed campaign dubbed Tamarod, Arabic for rebellion, has called for a demonstration outside the presidential palace against President Mohamed Mursi on June 30, the first anniversary of his election.
Tamarod says it has gathered millions of signatures to a petition demanding that Mursi step down to pave the way for an early presidential election.
In a reaction, supporters of Mursi called for Friday’s counter march, saying that Tamarod has no legal basis to topple the Islamist president.
Leading Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed al-Beltagy told Al Arabiya television that Egyptians need to support Mursi because he was “elected” by the people.
The brotherhood leader said he respects those who are collecting signatures to impeach Mursi, but said that accepting the results of last year’s presidential elections is the right path to democracy.
Beltagy added that the signatures collected by Tamarod have no legal weight to remove Mursi from power.
Essam Sultan, deputy head of Egypt’s Wasat Party told Al Arabiya television that comparing Mursi to Mubarak “is unreasonable.” Sultan said” “Mursi was elected, unlike former president Hosni Mubarak, who was accused of forging election results.”
Sultan added that those who supported Mursi will not allow his ouster “even if millions signatories were collected.”
In a newspaper interview published last week, Mursi himself dismissed the call for an early election as “absurd and illegitimate,” and in violation of the constitution.
Mursi's first year in office has been marred by sometimes deadly clashes between his supporters and opponents that have stoked political tensions in the country.