The political wing of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood has called on supporters to take to the streets to resist an army move that a spokesman compared to the coup which brought Egypt six decades of military-backed rule.
“This is a very critical moment in Egyptian history – we are facing a moment very similar to 1952,” Freedom and Justice Party spokesman Murad Ali told Reuters on Tuesday. In that year, Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers overthrew King Farouk.
“Egyptians are very aware that there are some people that are trying to push the country back in history and back to dictatorship.”
The head of Egypt’s armed forces announced on Monday that the army was giving politicians 48 hours to answer demands made by the Egyptian people or the military would offer its own “road map for the future.
“The people agreed to a constitution and this constitution draws the map,” Ali said. “We are refusing any attempts at a coup or any attempts to overlook the constitution that Egyptians agreed upon.”
The Freedom and Justice Party is part of the alliance of Islamist parties calling on Egyptians to “go and defend their democracy and their right for freedom”, Ali said, adding that he expected people to turn out in large numbers across the country.
The alliance said late on Monday that it rejected attempts by some to use the army to “assault legitimacy” in a partisan way that would lead to a coup.
The Brotherhood said on Monday that it was considering action to defend itself after its national headquarters were ransacked.
Since then, other senior members have called for action.
“Preventing this coup may call for martyrdom, which we would offer as a mark of loyalty to the martyrs of the revolution,” Mohamed El-Beltagi said in comments on the FJP website, referring to those who died in the 2011 uprising.
Ali said that his group was not handling the logistics of organizing these rallies, but said that Egyptians were taking to the streets of their own accord “refusing the intervention of the military in political issues”.
The Brotherhood’s Misr 25 television channel broadcast images late on Monday of large gatherings in a number of Egyptian cities. Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad tweeted that there were 50 “pro-legitimacy” demonstrations happening across Egypt’s 27 provinces.