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Egyptian Police Hold Back On Pro-Morsi Camps

  • RFE/RL

Egyptian authorities appear to be holding back on plans to disperse two protest camps in Cairo manned by supporters of ousted President Muhammad Morsi.

Police had said earlier on August 12 that they would begin clearing protestors out of the camps at dawn.

However, the action did not take place as Morsi supporters staged a mass march and rally in the capital during the day.

During the rally in central Cairo, tens of thousands of people chanted the ousted Islamist president’s name.

Some Egyptian media have been speculating that action to clear the protest camps was put on hold after Morsi’s supporters reinforced the number of people in the camps during the day.

Other local media reports say that the leaking of the clearance plan earlier to the press earlier in the day may have dissuaded the police by giving protestors ample time to prepare for action.

Officials have previously said they will take gradual measures to disperse the protesters, issuing warnings and using water cannon and tear gas to minimize casualties.

Thousands of people have occupied two encampments in Cairo's streets since even before Morsi's July 3 overthrow. During that time, more than 250 have been killed in street clashes.

Also on August 12, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member said he has turned down an offer by the head of Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's top religious institution, to negotiate a solution to the standoff.

Mohammed el-Beltagi said that top Al-Azhar cleric, Ahmed el-Tayyib, was not an impartial mediator because he backed Morsi's ouster.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian judge on August 12 ordered that Morsi be held in detention for an additional 15 days. That is to give investigators more time to look into charges that he conspired with Palestinian militants in 2011.

Morsi has been held incommunicado since the military deposed him last month, disbanded the Islamist-dominated parliament, and suspended the constitution.


With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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