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Middle East

Opposition denies urging Morsi's overthrow

Coalition of liberal groups backs away from earlier statement demanding the removal of the president and his associates.
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2013 20:19
Police and protesters clashed in the Nile Delta and also near Tahrir Square on Monday [Reuters]

Egypt's main opposition alliance has denied that it is demanding the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, backing away from an earlier statement.

Khaled Daoud, a spokesperson for the National Salvation Front (NSF), said on Monday that the coalition of liberal, social democratic and leftist parties was not demanding the removal of the Morsi, who became Egypt's first democratically elected president seven months ago.

"We are not calling for the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi right now. We believe he is elected but that doesn't give him the right to change all the rules of the game," Daoud said.

This comes after the NSF on Saturday, after a week of nationwide violence between protesters and security forces in which 59 people were killed, issued a statement calling for Morsi, his interior minister and other associates to be investigated and put on trial for "killings, torture and illegal detentions".

"The NSF will fully align with the demands of the Egyptian people calling to topple the regime of tyranny and domination of the Muslim Brotherhood," the statement said.

Clashes in Nile Delta

In other developments, police and protesters clashed in the Nile Delta town of al-Gharbiyah on Monday night.

The protesters torched a police vehicle and attacked the governorate's office and police station, a security source said.

Police fired tear gas to disperse them.

Earlier on Monday, a clash broke out when mourners carrying the body of a dead protester threw stones and metal objects at riot police guarding the British Embassy near Tahrir Square.

The Front includes liberal politicians such as former UN nuclear agency head Mohamed ElBaradei and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who last week signed a statement mediated by the country's leading Muslim scholar renouncing violence and calling for a national dialogue.

Ahmed Kamal, a spokesman for Moussa's Congress Party, said the wording had been chosen carefully to warn against "any violent practices and new dictatorship" without questioning Morsi's democratic legitimacy.

The Front said it would not engage in dialogue until what it called the "bloodbath" had stopped, those responsible were tried, and the opposition's previously stated demands were met.

The hardline religious Nour Party accused the opposition of stoking youth violence for political gain to try to oust Mursi.

The Salafist party condemned what it called unrealistic demands "such as overthrowing the legitimate president or
calling for early presidential elections or calling for amendments to the constitution".

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Source:
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