Prominent Salafist politician and former presidential candidate, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, has called for a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Egypt's capital, Cairo, on July 13. He has called for the demonstration to protest against addendums made to the constitution by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on June 17 prior to the inauguration of the new civilian president, Mohammed Mursi, on June 30. Ismail has also called on SCAF to withdraw from politics. The Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) have announced that they will participate in the demonstration.
During the recently held presidential run-off election period in mid-June, Egypt's High Constitutional Court dissolved the popularly elected and Islamist-dominated legislature. The then executive power, SCAF, also amended the 2011 Constitutional Declaration. The amendments granted SCAF extraordinary powers over the military, foreign affairs and the Constituent Assembly in addition to powers to legislate in the absence of the dissolved legislature.
On July 8, the new president, Mursi, issued a decree reconstituting the legislature in defiance of the court order. On July 10, the People's Assembly met briefly despite a court order upholding the earlier dissolution. The issue has raised tensions between the civilian president, parliament, the judiciary and the military. The expected July 13 demonstration is likely to be the first in a series of protests against recent moves by the judiciary and SCAF against the elected legislature and president. It is unclear how many people plan to attend the demonstration on July 13. However, given the popularity of Ismail and the Muslim Brotherhood/FJP a large attendance is anticipated.
Recent demonstrations have been largely peaceful. However, as political tensions continue to increase following the presidential election, the potential for violence increases. The protests are expected to begin after mid-day Muslim prayers and increase in size through the course of the late afternoon and evening.
By Andre Colling, Risk Analyst at red24.
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