CAIRO, July 2 (Reuters) - The political wing of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood has called on supporters to take to the streets to resist an army move that a spokesman compared to the coup which brought Egypt six decades of military-backed rule.
"This is a very critical moment in Egyptian history - we are facing a moment very similar to 1952," Freedom and Justice Party spokesman Murad Ali told Reuters on Tuesday. In that year, Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers overthrew King Farouk.
"Egyptians are very aware that there are some people that are trying to push the country back in history and back to dictatorship."
The head of Egypt's armed forces announced on Monday that the army was giving politicians 48 hours to answer demands made by the Egyptian people or the military would offer its own "road map for the future."
"The people agreed to a constitution and this constitution draws the map," Ali said. "We are refusing any attempts at a coup or any attempts to overlook the constitution that Egyptians agreed upon."
The Freedom and Justice Party is part of the alliance of Islamist parties calling on Egyptians to "go and defend their democracy and their right for freedom", Ali said, adding that he expected people to turn out in large numbers across the country.
The alliance said late on Monday that it rejected attempts by some to use the army to "assault legitimacy" in a partisan way that would lead to a coup.
The Brotherhood said on Monday that it was considering action to defend itself after its national headquarters were ransacked.
Since then, other senior members have called for action.
"Preventing this coup may call for martyrdom, which we would offer as a mark of loyalty to the martyrs of the revolution," Mohamed El-Beltagi said in comments on the FJP website, referring to those who died in the 2011 uprising.
Ali said that his group was not handling the logistics of organising these rallies, but said that Egyptians were taking to the streets of their own accord "refusing the intervention of the military in political issues".
The Brotherhood's Misr 25 television channel broadcast images late on Monday of large gatherings in a number of Egyptian cities. Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad tweeted that there were 50 "pro-legitimacy" demonstrations happening across Egypt's 27 provinces. (Reporting by Maggie Fick and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Ralph Boulton)
BEFORE YOU GO
07/05/2013 8:40 PM EDT
Photo Purportedly Of Muslim Brotherhood Leader's Arrest Posted To Facebook
Muslim Brotherhood's Khairat El Shater, former presidential candidate and wealthy businessman has been
He is seen as Brotherhood's second in command and political strategist. He was taken into custody on suspicion of incitement to violence.
-- Ahmed Shihab-Eldin
07/05/2013 7:03 PM EDT
Muslim Brotherhood Leader Arrested
From the AP:
CAIRO (AP) — An Interior Ministry spokesman says the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat el-Shater, considered the most powerful man in the organization has been arrested.
Spokesman Hani Abdel-Latif says el-Shater and his brother were arrested late Friday from an apartment in eastern Cairo on allegations of inciting violence against protesters in recent days.
Read more here.
07/05/2013 6:54 PM EDT
Egyptian Military Briefly Confiscates CNN Camera
A CNN crew filming from the 6th October Bridge in Cairo on Friday night was interrupted by the Egyptian military in the middle of a live report. An officer confiscated the camera, though it was later returned (minus some video footage), according to CNN.
Watch the video here.
07/05/2013 5:31 PM EDT
CNN Crew Briefly Investigated In Cairo
Cnn crew in Cairo fine. Sipping tea by the Nile, enjoying the evening cool, waiting for Army officer to return our camera. #Egypt #30June— benwedeman (@bencnn) 3 years ago
07/05/2013 5:06 PM EDT
Gun Battles Reportedly Continue
Gun battles continue on Gama3a Bridge near Cairo University— Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (@Repent11) 3 years ago
07/05/2013 4:31 PM EDT
Health Ministry Says Death Toll Rises To 17
Reuters: State television quoting Egypt's health ministry says 17 people were killed during violence on Friday— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) 3 years ago
07/05/2013 4:27 PM EDT
Reports: Missiles Fired In El-Arish
Sky News Arabia: "Egyptian Helicopter Fires Missiles at Two Targets in Al-Arish" #Sinai #Egypt #June30— Liam Stack (@liamstack) 3 years ago
07/05/2013 4:22 PM EDT
Curfew In Sinai
Reuters reports that a curfew has been imposed on the towns of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, two towns in North Sinai near Egypt's border with Israel.
07/05/2013 4:18 PM EDT
Statement By The House Foreign Relations Committee On Egypt
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, released the following statement in response to ongoing events in Egypt:
"The decision by the Egyptian military to take state authority out of the hands of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood government marks another sharp turning point in Egypt’s incomplete revolution. What the Brotherhood neglected to understand is that democracy means more than simply holding elections. Real democracy requires inclusiveness, compromise, respect for human and minority rights, and a commitment to the rule of law. Morsi and his inner circle did not embrace any of these principles and instead chose to consolidate power and rule by fiat. As a result the Egyptian people and their economy suffered greatly.
"It is now up to the Egyptian military to demonstrate that the new transitional government can and will govern in a transparent manner and work to return the country to democratic rule. We are encouraged that a broad cross-section of Egyptians will gather to rewrite the constitution. All parties in Egypt must show restraint, prevent violence, and prepare to be productive players in the future democratic Egypt. We encourage the military to exercise extreme caution moving forward and support sound democratic institutions through which the people and future governments can flourish."
07/05/2013 4:06 PM EDT
PHOTO: Clashes In Cairo
Supporters and opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi clash on the 6 October bridge, near Maspero, where Egypt's state tv and radio station is located, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, July 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)