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Egypt President to Give Key Tahrir Speech

Published: 29/06/2012 04:18:07 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Hundreds of thousands thronged to iconic Tahrir square on Friday, June 29, as Islamist President Mohamed Morsi prepared to address supporters on the eve of his swearing-in as Egypt's first civilian president. Down (more)

CAIRO - Hundreds of thousands thronged to iconic Tahrir square on Friday, June 29, as Islamist President Mohamed Morsi prepared to address supporters on the eve of his swearing-in as Egypt's first civilian president.

"Down with the power of the military," the demonstrators chanted, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

"Field marshal, tell us the truth -- is Morsi your president or not?"

Thousands have gathered in the square to protest against decrees issued by Egypt's military rulers before Morsi's election.

From mid-morning hours, thousands braved the scorching sun to attend Friday prayers at Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Chants against the ruling military which took over on Mubarak's overthrow rang out from among the crowd.

"I'm here to tell the military council that we, the people, elected parliament so it is only us, the people, who can dissolve it," Intissar al-Sakka, a protestor from the FJP, told the Reuters news agency.

The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi resigned after winning the presidency, had called for a huge demonstration in Tahrir, under the slogan: "Day of the transfer of power."

The presidency announced late on Thursday that Morsi would be sworn in Saturday before the Constitutional Court, after differences with the army over the transfer of power to the nation's first civilian president.

Morsi "will go at 11 am (0900 GMT) Saturday to the Constitutional Court to take the oath before the Court's general assembly," said a statement released by MENA.

The President's spokesman Yasser Ali told state MENA news agency the president-elect would "make a speech to the great Egyptian people" in which he would speak about "efforts to launch his program for the rebirth of Egypt."

Morsi, Egypt's first freely-elected civilian president, is due to speak at 18:00 local time.

Traditionally the president takes the oath in parliament, but Egypt's top court has ordered the disbanding of the Islamist-dominated legislature.

The military subsequently assumed legislative powers and also formed a powerful national security council headed by the president but dominated by generals.

By agreeing to be sworn in by the Constitutional Court, Morsi is effectively acknowledging the court's decision to dissolve parliament.

Media reports said Morsi was consulting a cross-section of Egyptian society before appointing a premier and a cabinet mostly made up of technocrats.


Ahead of Tahrir speech, Morsi prayed in Al-Azhar mosque, the Sunni world's most prestigious learning institution.

"This must be the homeland of all its citizens with equality between individuals in a true democracy in which all can express themselves while respecting morality," Mohammed Abdel Fadil al-Qawsi, Al-Azhar imam and religious endowments minister, said in his sermon.

"No to discrimination between individuals, groups or communities. The leader should be everyone's leader."

Qawsi called on Morsi to maintain the institution's privileged position under his presidency.

"I am sure that President is among those who believe in the role of Al-Azhar and who want it to remain an institution that unites Muslims around the world and provides a protection against terrorism," he said.

On the other hand, Amnesty International urged President Morsi on Friday to break the cycle of abuse under Hosni Mubarak and put the country on the path to the rule of law and respect for human rights.

"We hope, as they do, that this stage of the transition might herald a turning of the corner."

"It will be important to scrutinize the early months of the new president, and hold him to account for the actions he takes, or does not take, to get to grips with the pressing human rights priorities in Egypt."

In a meeting with Egyptian newspaper editors reported by most dailies on Thursday, Morsi pledged there would be "no Islamisation of state institutions" during his presidency.

Morsi has already met the SCAF chief, as well as a delegation from the Sunni body Al-Azhar, and another representing Egypt's Coptic church.

Reproduced with permission from