Protests Continue | Explosions in North Sinai

July 7, 2013 . By
Anti-Morsi Protests | Photo by: Mohamed Omar
Anti-Morsi Protests | Photo by: Mohamed Omar

Protests continued through Egypt, led by both pro- and anti-Morsi activists. While many thousands participated in demonstrations organized by both sides, reduced numbers were evident compared to the crowds seen prior to the ouster of Morsi. Tamarod organized three marches headed for Tahrir Square, four marches toward al-Qubba Palace, and demonstrations in “Kafr AlSheikh, Daqahleya, Sharqeya, Gharbeya, Damietta, Menufiya, Ismailia, Suez and the Red Sea.” The pro-Morsi National Coalition to Support Legitimacy called for demonstrations at Raba’a al-Adaweya Mosque, Nahda Square and the Republican Guard Palace in Cairo, as well as “Assiut, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Beni Suef, Aswan, Sharqeya, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, Qaliubiya, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Alexandria, Beheira, Daqahleya and the Red Sea.” Military police closed roads leading to Al-Qubba Palace and stationed two army tanks at the palace gates.

Loud explosions were reported in the al-Muhajir neighborhood of al-Arish in North Sinai. Daily News Egypt reported that a gas pipeline leading to Jordan was attacked; these pipelines have frequently been targets of militants in the past. Additionally, the North Sinai Security Directorate commented that four security checkpoints were attacked in the nearby cities of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah. As a result of the attacks, “an Egyptian border guard was killed[, and a police officer was shot].” No perpetrators have been identified.

Eleven Egyptian activists who had been on trial for inciting violence in prior protests against Morsi were acquitted in Cairo. The defendants, including a number of particularly outspoken critics, were facing charges resulting from a March protest at the Cairo Muslim Brotherhood headquarters that resulted in 130 people being injured. Douma had previously been sentenced to six months in prison for referring to Morsi as “a criminal and a murderer” in interviews.

The Freedom and Justice Party accused security forces of preventing access to its Cairo offices without a court order. The FJP also noted that its newspaper, Freedom and Justice, was being printed in reduced numbers, and suggested government meddling; state officials, though, indicated that the newspaper’s finances were to blame, noting a large debt owed to the state-owned printing company.

In Minya, distinctive marks were noted on a Coptic-owned shop and a Coptic orphanage. The regional branch of the Dostour Party released a statement noting that such marks had been used elsewhere to identify in advance places for attacks by Islamists.

Lastly, the justice minister, Ahmed Suleiman, resigned. Prior to being named Minister of Justice, Suleiman had notably acted in opposition to Morsi’s highly controversial constitutional decree of November 2012.