For those not following developments in Egypt, Sunday 30 June marks the first anniversary of the presidency of Muhammad Mursi. It is also the date of what are anticipated to be sizable nationwide demonstrations against Mursi and his administration. The impetus for these protests is the Tamarrud (“Rebellion”) campaign, the brainchild of three activists associated with the Kifaya (“Enough”) movement. In the words of one of the founders of Tamarrud, “we had an idea of organizing a strong, popular street action against the deteriorating political and economic conditions, to reunite the revolutionaries and all the Egyptians who are fed up with [President Mursi].” The founders announced the campaign on 1 May 2013 and together with an initial core group of ~50 activists immediately set about gathering a desired 15 million signatures on a petition serving as 1) a statement of no-confidence in Mursi and 2) a call for an early presidential election.
Hop the crispy ta'miya al-burtuqali for the text of the petition and for a brief discussion of developments since 1 May and plans for the demonstrations (and counter-demonstrations) due this weekend.
Here is a translation of the text of the petition from the Tamarrud website:
The Tamarrud Campaign (withdrawing confidence in Muhammad Mursi al-'Ayat):Within two weeks of announcing their campaign, Tamarrud activists had gathered some 2 million signatures representing citizens from almost all of Egypt's 27 governorates (major civil divisions). The campaign also drew the attention and eventual support of the leadership of the National Salvation Front (NSF: the umbrella-organization for the political opposition), none more enthusiastically than Hamdin Sabbahi, a secular Nasserist who placed a surprising third behind Mursi and Shafiq in last year's presidential election and has since founded the Popular Current movement. Over the following month or so, the Tamarrud campaign expanded from their primary office in Cairo to establish offices in all of the governorates. Copies of the petition, initially distributed by hand from tables in public spaces, became increasingly available not only in shops and kiosks throughout the country but also in offices of political parties and groups who have endorsed the campaign. On 19 June, a Tamarrud spokesperson announced that they had met their goal of 15 million signatures, a number of signatures greater than the ~13.2 million votes cast for Mursi in last year's runoff election against Shafiq.
- because security has still not been established, we reject you;
- because the poverty-stricken still have no standing, we reject you;
- because we are still begging resources from abroad, we reject you;
- because no justice has yet been brought to the martyrs, we reject you;
- because there is no dignity for myself or my country, we reject you;
- because the economy has collapsed and is based solely upon begging, we reject you;
- because Egypt is still subservient to America, we reject you.
Since the arrival of Muhammad Mursi al-'Ayat to power, the ordinary citizen feels that he has not yet achieved any of the goals of the revolution, namely subsistence, freedom, social justice and national independence. Mursi's total failure to achieve these goals—establishing no security and realizing no social justice—has thus provided us evidence of his unworthiness and he is not fit to govern a country such as Egypt.
I, the undersigned, of my full volition and as a member of the General Assembly of the Egyptian people, hereby withdraw confidence from President Dr. Muhammad Mursi 'Isa al-'Ayat and I call for holding early presidential elections. I promise to uphold the goals of the revolution, to work to attain them and to disseminate the Tamarrud campaign among the public so that we can together achieve a society of dignity, justice and freedom.
While initially dismissed by Mursi, his administration and his supporters as little more than a nuisance, the Tamarrud campaign has rallied tremendous support across Egypt and has prompted the Jam'iyyat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (the Muslim Brotherhood) from which Mursi hails to organize preemptive (read: “intimidatory”) counter-demonstrations on 28 June. The seriousness of the challenge posed to Mursi by Tamarrud was also reflected in the nationally televised address given by Mursi last night, in which he announced seven decisions intended to satisfy some demands of the political opposition without, interestingly, mentioning Tamarrud directly by name.
Yesterday, a Tamarrud spokesperson announced the launch of the 30 June Front, a committee coordinating the demonstrations on Sunday. In Cairo, the plan is for demonstrators starting out from five separate locations to converge on the Presidential Palace and stage a sit-in around the Palace while other demonstrators converge from four locations to reoccupy Midan Tahrir. The locations of additional demonstrations across Egypt are due to be announced on Saturday 29 June.
The spokesperson also announced an ambitious “roadmap” for the transfer of political power: a six-month caretaker government nominally headed by the current President of the Supreme Constitutional Court, with actual executive authority assigned to an appointed (as yet unnamed) Prime Minister; the dissolution of the Shura Council (upper house of the Egyptian Parliament); the suspension of Mursi's constitutional decrees and the drafting of a new constitution by a committee of appointed jurists and scholars; and presidential elections in six months, followed by parliamentary elections.
Tamarrud represents a powerful social and political challenge to Mursi, his administration and the Ikhwan. While it is improbable in the extreme that Mursi would step down, at least anytime soon, Tamarrud has the potential to rekindle the revolutionary ethos of late January 2011.
Stay tuned, folks, as things could get quite "interesting"...
Some Background Information:
The Tamarrud Website [in Arabic]
Egypt's Opposition Launches New Campaign to Highlight Grievances (Al-Monitor; 14 May 2013)
Egypt's anti-Morsi 'Rebel' Campaign: an Inside Look (Al-Ahram; 29 May 2013)
Tamarod Backs SCC President to Replace Morsy (Egypt Independent; 15 June 2013)
Tamarod Launches Political Front (Egypt Independent; 26 June 2013)
Tamarod Launches 30 June Front (Al-Ahram; 26 June 2013)
Egypt's President Morsi Warns Unrest Risks Paralysis (BBC; 26 June 2013)