CAIRO (AP) — Thousands of Egyptian activists took to the streets Saturday to mark the fifth anniversary of the founding of a leading opposition group, the April 6 Youth Movement, and to push a long list of demands, including the formation of a more inclusive government amid a worsening economy.
A recent diesel crisis has crippled life for millions in Egypt who rely on subsidized fuel, while the value of the country’s currency has slid sharply and the central bank’s foreign reserves are shrinking.
April 6, which played a key role in the revolt that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011, initially backed Morsi in the presidential run-offs in June against a former regime-era official. But the group has grown disillusioned with the president, and accuses him of trying to monopolize power.
It is demanding changes to parts of the new constitution, which was passed in a contentious referendum last year. Some in the group are angry that Morsi’s government is engaged in reconciliation talks with former regime officials, and demand sweeping reforms in the country’s police and judiciary.
Among the most contentious issues is that Morsi appointed his own attorney general, a move the opposition says blurs the separation of powers and throws into question the prosecutor’s ability to independently investigate the presidency.
Police fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters outside the chief prosecutor’s office Saturday in central Cairo who were pushing on the building’s doors demanding he resign.
April 6 founder Ahmed Maher has accused Morsi of acting like his autocratic predecessor and of not having an inclusive political process. The political party of the Brotherhood says that groups should challenge the president at the ballot box, not in street protests.
The head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Saad al-Katatny, acknowledged in a statement on his Facebook account that groups such as April 6 played a pivotal role in the country’s revolution.
“We battled against tyranny together for many years,” he wrote. “I hope we can repeat that experience and overcome our differences in order to build a modern, democratic state.”
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.