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No end in sight to Egypt crisis as rivals rally

Britain blocks exports to Egyptian military

  • Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans during a protest at the Rabaa Adawiya squImage Credit: REUTERS
  • Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans during a protest at the Rabaa Adawiya squImage Credit: REUTERS
Gulf News

Dubai: Tens of thousands of Islamists poured onto Egypt’s streets on Friday demanding the reinstatement of ousted president Mohammad Mursi, amid warnings by the military of a crackdown on violent protests.

The rallies come a day after Mursi’s army-installed successor President Adly Mansour vowed to fight for stability against opponents he accused of wanting to plunge the crisis-hit country “into the unknown”.

Also yesterday, Mursi’s opponents also prepared to protesting nearby.

Two formations of fighter jets screamed over the sun-baked city after noon prayers ended. Four army helicopters circled, while another five, trailing Egyptian flags, flew low over Cairo roof tops, in a clear show of strength by the military.

Britain announced it was revoking export licences for equipment used by Egypt’s military and police amid concerns it could be used against protesters. The licences concerned cover components for armoured personnel carriers and for machine guns, as well as radio and communications equipment, including for tanks, a spokeswoman for the business ministry said. “We are deeply concerned about the situation in Egypt and the events which have led to the deaths of protestors,” Business Secretary Vince Cable said.

More than two weeks after powerful military shunted the contested Mursi from office, there was still no sign of a possible deal to defuse the crisis, which has divided the most populous Arab state and alarmed its Western allies.

In his first address since taking office, Mansour promised on Thursday night to fight people he said wanted to destabilise the nation.

“We are going through a critical stage and some want us to move towards chaos and we want to move towards stability. Some want a bloody path,” he said in a televised address. “We will fight a battle for security until the end.”

Tamarod, the youth movement which organised enormous anti-Mursi protests on June 30, is also planning rallies on Friday, including one close to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Nasr City vigil.

Meanwhile, authorities have revoked a diplomatic passport held by Mursi, two weeks after he was removed by the military from power.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Western and Arab nations of “double standards” for failing to condemn the overthrow of Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood like Erdogan has Islamist roots.