Morsi gives 2.5 hour speech

June 26, 2013 . By

President Morsi gave a major speech ahead of protests planned for June 30. In the approximately two and a half hour address, Morsi admitted that he had made mistakes, but he blamed Egypt’s problems on foreign powers, saboteurs, the opposition, remnants of the former regime, and a general lack of stability in the country. Morsi offered to meet with representatives of “all political parties and powers” and to establish a committee to receive and consider constitutional amendments from all of these groups. Morsi blamed opposition parties for their refusal to seriously engage in dialogue and said, in remarks aimed at the opposition, “The road to change is clear. Our hands are extended.”

Morsi struck a humble tone in some instances. “I have been right at times and been wrong at others,” he said. “Of course I have made many mistakes and been right as much as possible. Mistakes are to be expected, but correcting them is a duty.” Morsi also said that he “[was] keen for real and democratic exchange of power in Egypt – even tomorrow – as long as it is according to the stability and constitution we have realized in the path to democracy.” He then claimed that he needed stability to make things work – “It is not just or wise to hurl blame at others without first realizing that we find ourselves in an extremely complicated situation.” – and blamed foreign and domestic enemies for working against him.

“Egypt’s enemies have spared no effort in attempting to sabotage the democratic experiment,” said Morsi. “They have led it into a state of violence, defamation, incitement, and corrupt financing.” Morsi further stated that “there are some abroad who are overtly hostile to this revolution”. Morsi aimed a section of his remarks at the “remnants” of the Mubarak regime: “You hired people to terrorize citizens in the streets and you collaborated with foreign enemies.” Regarding the domestic political opposition, Morsi asserted that they did not take negotiation seriously: “I was surprised to see the opposition quickly give up at the first difference in opinion and resort to insults, stubbornness, and degrading adjectives instead of dialogue…. Why do they speak of my responsibility as a governing authority when they demand the execution of decisions without my authority?”

Earlier in the day, other events foreshadowed the protests scheduled for June 30. The activist group Tamarod announced the formation of the June 30 Front, a body that is meant to provide a coordinated voice linked to the protests. A list of the names of the Front’s founding members was released; figures named in the list emerged from several political movements and included veteran activists Ahmed Doma, Israa Abdel Fattah, Yousef al-Husseiny, and Shadi al-Ghazali Harb. The June 30 Front was created with the intention of representing the goals of the Tamarod movement in any political negotiations that emerged from the planned protests.

Violence was reported in the city of Mansoura in Daqhaliya province, where opponents of the Morsi government marched with weapons held aloft. Clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi factions erupted, leaving two dead and at least 225 people injured. Several shops were smashed and looted, including one owned by senior Muslim Brotherhood figure Kheirat al-Shater, and at least four vehicles were set on fire during the fighting.

Continuing the string of violent events in Sharqiya, the headquarters of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party was attacked following Morsi’s evening speech. Brotherhood spokesmen said two of its members were killed in the violence.