Skip to main content

Morsy to address Egyptians amid mounting violence

By Reza Sayah, Michael Pearson and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
December 6, 2012 -- Updated 0449 GMT (1249 HKT)
A street vendor grills corn as Egyptian soldiers stand guard at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, December 18, in Cairo. Protesters opposed to President Mohamed Morsy's first round of voting in the constitutional referendum gather during continuing demonstrations. A street vendor grills corn as Egyptian soldiers stand guard at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, December 18, in Cairo. Protesters opposed to President Mohamed Morsy's first round of voting in the constitutional referendum gather during continuing demonstrations.
HIDE CAPTION
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
Egyptians protest over presidential powers
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Morsy chief of staff says president's address will contain important information
  • The announcement comes after more than 200 people were hurt Wednesday
  • Masked men set fire to Muslim Brotherhood offices in three cities
  • Opposition leaders say they are prepared to start talks with Morsy if he withdraws his edict

Are you there? Share your story

Cairo (CNN) -- As protesters battled supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy outside his palace, his chief of staff announced Thursday that the president would address the nation later in the day.

The chief of staff, Refaa El-Tahtawy, said the speech would include important news but did not specify what that might be.

The announcement came hours after demonstrations erupted into violence Wednesday night over Morsy's assumption of sweeping powers last month.

Three of Morsy's advisers resigned Wednesday in protest of his edict, while demonstrators set fire to offices of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, in three cities.

The unrest comes as Egypt lurches toward a scheduled December 15 referendum on a new constitution. Days of largely peaceful protests in Tahrir Square had preceded Wednesday's violence.

But that all changed Wednesday. After Morsy supporters chased protesters from the grounds, pro- and anti-Morsy demonstrators threw rocks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at each other.

Morsy spokesman: He wants democracy
Rocks fly during clashes in Cairo
Egypt's media blackout
Egypt's prime minister on turmoil
Pro-Morsy supporters turn out in force

Late in the day, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood called on protesters to withdraw from the area of the palace "and not to protest there again due to its significant symbolic position as the president's office."

The Health Ministry reported four were killed and 271 were injured; state media reported earlier in the night that no one was killed.

Dr. Mohamed Sultan, a spokesman for the ministry, said the injuries ranged from bruises to cuts, burns and fractures.

More marches were promised for Thursday, said Rami Shath, a member of the Revolutionary Alliance and the Free Egyptian Party.

"We hold opposition figures, namely Sabbahi & ElBaradei, fully responsible for escalation of violence & inciting their supporters," said the Muslim Brotherhood in a tweet, referring to opposition leaders Hamdeen Sabbahi and Mohamed ElBaradei.

Morsy, Egypt's first freely elected leader, was a Muslim Brotherhood leader before winning office in June, when he resigned from the movement and the Freedom and Justice Party to represent all Egyptians, he said. Demonstrators were protesting his recent edict granting himself sweeping powers and the proposed constitution -- drafted by an Islamist-dominated council -- that they fear will give him even more power.

"This is not what we asked for," one protester said. "It's a complete dictatorship."

Other protesters vowed to remain in the streets until Morsy is forced to leave office. "He's not our president anymore," another protester said.

The three advisers who announced their resignations said they had done so after failing to persuade Morsy to reverse his November 23 decree.

"He has rejected all our suggestions and initiatives that may have avoided the cycle of violence we are witnessing today," Ayman al-Sayad, Seif Abdel Fattah, and Mohammed Esmat said in a joint statement.

But the powerful Muslim Brotherhood called the protesters "thugs" who were trying to overthrow the president.

"By the grace of God, the Egyptian people will be able to protect this legitimacy, its constitution and its institutions," the group said on its Facebook page.

Ahmed Sobea, a spokesman of the Freedom and Justice Party, said the party's offices in the northeastern cities of Suez and Ismailia had been ransacked and torched by masked, armed men on Wednesday night. The offices were empty when the attacks occurred, Sobea said.

State-run Nile TV broadcast pictures of the Ismaila office on fire and reported that other masked men had burned the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in the northeastern city of Zagazig.

Opposition leaders are prepared to open talks with Morsy if he withdraws his edict and delays the referendum, said ElBaradei, leader of the liberal Constitution Party and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. But Vice President Mahmoud Mekki said the referendum will be held as planned.

"Saying the referendum will be held on time is not being stubborn," Mekki said. "The president has backtracked from decisions before; he's not a stubborn character."

Morsy's decree placed his decisions out of the reach of courts until a new constitution is approved. He said the move was designed to protect the spirit of the popular 2011 uprising that drove former strongman Hosni Mubarak from power.

Critics call it a power grab.

Egyptian judges and media outlets as well as liberal political groups have protested Morsy's decree and the proposed constitution, saying it goes against the goals of the revolution.

How the struggle plays out could have repercussions across the Middle East and North Africa, regions already wracked by upheaval. In nearby Gaza and Israel, tensions remain high after last month's fighting. In Syria, a civil war has raged since March 2011.

Wednesday's violence followed clashes Tuesday outside the palace, which has become the focus of protests by Egypt's liberal opposition.

On Tuesday night, police fired tear gas after anti-Morsy protesters broke through barbed wire around the palace and hurled chairs and rocks at retreating officers. After the initial clashes, police withdrew behind fences and the demonstration was peaceful for several hours.

Yassir Ali, a spokesman for the presidential office and the vice president, told reporters Wednesday that the presidential office had ordered the security forces at the palace "to protect the protesters and keep them safe."

"The orders to the security forces were not to confront (them), (but) to preserve the lives of the protesters and to prevent any clashes between the security forces and the protesters," Ali said.

CNN's Reza Sayah and Journalists Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Sarah Sirgany reported from Cairo, CNN's Michael Pearson, Joe Sterling, Saad Abedine and Yousuf Basil reported from Atlanta, and Sarah Brown and Laura Smith-Spark reported from London.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Egypt
March 25, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
An Egyptian court sentences at least 528 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges related to violent riots in the southern Egyptian city of Minya.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour sends letter to the family of jailed Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
March 9, 2014 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
CNN's Sara Sidner talks about stepping in for Al Jazeera reporters since they have been barred from working in Egypt.
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
How are the Arab Spring nations faring? What successes can they boast -- on democracy, economic progress, stability and women's rights -- and what challenges await?
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
A Cairo court has banned all activities by Hamas in Egypt, calling the Palestinian movement that runs Gaza a terrorist organization.
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 2114 GMT (0514 HKT)
Lawyers representing Muslim Brotherhood members in a jailbreak case call for the judges to be changed.
February 20, 2014 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
Three Al Jazeera journalists face terrorism charges after being arrested in December. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.
February 9, 2014 -- Updated 1752 GMT (0152 HKT)
CNN's Christiane Amanpour son the Egyptian government's actions towards journalists.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0409 GMT (1209 HKT)
At least four people died and 14 were wounded by a blast on a tourist bus in the resort town of Taba, authorities say.
February 16, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Mohamed Morsy taunts officials who placed him in a soundproof glass box during his trial on conspiracy charges.
February 11, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
An Oscar-nominated film portrays a revolution squeezed into its margins,but that's where it started, writes H.A. Hellyer.
January 22, 2014 -- Updated 0818 GMT (1618 HKT)
"Democracy" is meaningless unless the right people are entrusted with implementing it, says Aalam Wassef.
February 6, 2014 -- Updated 2130 GMT (0530 HKT)
Egypt's military quashes a newspaper report that quoted Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi as saying he would run for president.
January 26, 2014 -- Updated 0802 GMT (1602 HKT)
Muslim Brotherhood supporters (background) clash with supporters of the Egyptian government in Cairo on January 25, 2014.
At least 49 people died in violence on the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution, state media says.
January 18, 2014 -- Updated 2204 GMT (0604 HKT)
Voters have overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, a spokesman for Egypt's electoral commission says.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 0108 GMT (0908 HKT)
Egyptians vote for the first time since the military ousted Morsy. CNN's Ian Lee reports.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 0111 GMT (0911 HKT)
A study suggests Egyptians are far more likely to support military rule than people in many other Mideast countries.
January 14, 2014 -- Updated 2054 GMT (0454 HKT)
CNN's Becky Anderson speaks to Amre Moussa about what went into the creation of Egypt's constitutional draft.
January 14, 2014 -- Updated 1812 GMT (0212 HKT)
Egyptians have high hopes that the referendum will put an end to the bloodshed, but will Egypt be back where it was at the start of the revolution?
January 13, 2014 -- Updated 1557 GMT (2357 HKT)
International correspondents demand Egypt release three journalists they say have been detained arbitrarily for two weeks.
ADVERTISEMENT