Cairo: An Islamist coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood on Saturday offered negotiations to end the deadly tumult since Egyptian president Mohammad Mursi’s overthrow, without explicitly insisting on his reinstatement.
The coalition “calls on all revolutionary forces and political parties and patriotic figures to enter a deep dialogue on exiting the current crisis,” it said in a statement.
The coalition, which has organised weekly protests despite a harsh police crackdown, insisted on keeping up “peaceful opposition” but said it wanted a “consensus for the public good of the country.”
It proposed conditions to enter the dialogue, including the release of Islamist prisoners and the reopening of Islamist TV channels shut down after Mursi’s July 3 overthrow by the military.
Unlike previous proposals, which all hinged on the Islamist leader’s return prior to negotiations, the Islamists were pointedly vague on their end goals.
They demanded “a return to constitutional legitimacy and the democratic process with the participation of all political groups, without one group monopolising the process or excluding any group”.
The return of Mursi to office is a long-held demand by the group and the motive behind the near-daily protests it has launched.
Mohammad Bishr, a leading member of the Brotherhood, told reporters the initiative is on the table for two weeks.
Several thousand supporters of Egypt’s ousted president rallied Friday as security forces deployed extra police officers and soldiers for the first weekend since a curfew across much of the country ended.
Clashes between supporters of Mursi and residents in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria killed a 16-year-old boy, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. It said Ihab Salim suffered a gunshot wound to the chest in the fighting and it was unclear who fired the shot.
The statement said police arrested seven Mursi supporters over the clashes.
Mursi supporters also protested at the presidential palace in Cairo. Protesters shot off fireworks and chanted slogans against the military. At one point, the crowd shouted: “This time is for real, we are not going to leave it for anybody.”