Strikes, Protests Rock Port Said for Third Day
Thousands of protesters rallied in Port Said on Tuesday against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. Protesters also observed a general strike for the third day, and called on government employees to leave work. Shops remained closed, port workers and others continued sit-ins, and some students did not attend school. Specific demands included appointing an independent judge to investigate the killing of protesters last month and the resignation and prosecution of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim and Port Said Security Chief Mohsen Radi. In response, Fouad Gadallah, the president’s legal adviser, met with a Port Said delegation and the president agreed to appoint a judge. Freedom and Justice Party Vice President Essam al-Erian, said “‘the concerns of Port Said top our priorities in the Shura Council.’”
On Sunday, President Morsi dismissed his Salafist environmental adviser, Khaled Alam al-Din, a leading member of al-Nour, reportedly for abusing his office. Al-Nour spokesman Nader Bakkar criticized the move on Monday as being based merely on allegations. Basam Zarqa, another al-Nour member and presidential adviser, resigned in solidarity with al-Din. The presidential office released a statement Tuesday saying the dismissal was not political, but due to evidence of crimes committed by al-Din’s team.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State announced that Secretary John Kerry will visit Egypt, Turkey, and several Gulf countries in the coming weeks.
Writing for Reuters, Paul Taylor finds that “with little regard for the looming economic cliff, politicians in the most populous Arab nation are trading blows over an Islamist-tilted constitution, political violence and an alleged power grab by the Muslim Brotherhood.” Writing for The Christian Science Monitor, Dan Murphy argues that “President Mohamed Morsi, his Muslim Brotherhood, and the security forces…are out of touch with the struggles of the nation’s poor” and failing Egypt.