Muslim Brotherhood determined to restore Mursi to power
Military-led government accuses the Muslim Brotherhood, and considers banning it again
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood vowed yesterday not to back down in its push to restore ousted Islamist leader Mohammed Mursi to power, but insisted its resistance is peaceful in an effort to distance itself from over a week of clashes with security forces.
The group has refused to work with interim leaders who are trying to restore calm and pave the way for new elections early next year after the toppling of Mursi and the subsequent crackdown on other leaders of the fundamentalist Islamic group.
The military coup, which followed mass protests by millions of Egyptians demanding the president's removal, has opened deep fissures in the country and prevented it from achieving stability more than two years after the revolution against autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak.
The Brotherhood statement came a day after arrest warrants were issued for the group's spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, and nine other Islamists accused of inciting violence after deadly clashes - the latest moves by the new military-backed government as it tries to choke off the group's campaign to reinstate Mursi.
"We will continue our peaceful resistance to the bloody military coup against constitutional legitimacy," the Brotherhood said. "We trust that the peaceful and popular will of the people shall triumph over force and oppression."
A senior Brotherhood leader, Dr Essam el-Erian, echoed the sentiment in comments published on the website of the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice party.
"The people will restore their freedom and dignity through peaceful sit-ins in [Tahrir] Square, demonstrations and protests," he was quoted as saying. "All Egyptians must stop dragging the country to violence and avoid falling into the vicious circle of violence and counterviolence."
The arrest warrants against Badie and the others for inciting violence that left dozens dead in Cairo on Monday drew an angry response from the Brotherhood, which said "dictatorship is back" and insisted it would never work with the interim rulers.
Security agencies have jailed five leaders of the Brotherhood, including Badie's powerful deputy, Khairat el-Shaiter, and shut down its media outlets.
The prosecutor general's office said Badie, another deputy, Mahmoud Ezzat, Mohamed el-Beltagy and popular preacher Safwat Hegazy are suspected of instigating Monday's clashes with security forces outside a Republican Guard building that killed 54 people - most Mursi supporters - in the worst bloodshed since he was ousted.
The Islamists accused troops of gunning down protesters, while the military blamed armed backers of Mursi for attempting to storm a military building.
The accusations that the Muslim Brotherhood was inciting violence seemed to be a hint that the group might be banned altogether.
However, Egypt's prime minister yesterday did not rule out posts for the Muslim Brotherhood in his cabinet if candidates are qualified.
Hazem el-Beblawi, who was appointed on Tuesday, said he was still considering the make-up of his interim government.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse