Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Morsi supporters protest at cabinet

Supporters of Egypt's ousted president Mohammed Morsi protest in Cairo (AP)
Supporters of Egypt's ousted president Mohammed Morsi protest in Cairo (AP)

Several hundred supporters of Egypt's deposed president are protesting near the cabinet building in central Cairo against the country's new interim government.

The demonstrators say the new leadership is illegitimate and demand that ousted president Mohammed Morsi be reinstated.

Egypt's new 34-member cabinet, sworn in with interim president Adly Mansour, features several prominent figures from the country's liberal and secular factions, as well as three women and three Christians. There are no ministers from Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamist groups.

Earlier this week clashes between police and Morsi supporters left at least seven people dead. More than 260 people were injured in the violence in four different locations in Cairo.

The interim government is part of a military-backed transition plan following the July 3 coup that deposed Mr Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president.

The new government is led by prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi, an economist. Army chief General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who ousted Mr Morsi on July 3, retains his post as defence minister and also took the position of first deputy prime minister, an additional title given to defence ministers in the past.

The Morsi-appointed interior minister, Mohammed Ibrahim, remains in his post, in charge of the police. Nabil Fahmy, who was Egypt's ambassador to the US from 1999 to 2008, becomes foreign minister.

The interim president's spokesman had said posts would be offered to Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, but the group refused, saying it would not participate in the military-backed political process and vowing to continue its protests.

Morsi supporters accuse the military of carrying out a coup that has destroyed Egypt's democracy.

In a first, Mr Mansour also swore in an icon of Egyptian football as youth minister. Midfielder Taher Abu Zeid starred in Cairo's el-Ahly club and the national side in the 1980s.

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