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13:23, 21 October 2014 Tuesday
08:58, 17 August 2013 Saturday

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NSF spokesman quits over Rabaa, Nahda massacres
NSF spokesman quits over Rabaa, Nahda massacres

The spokesperson for Egypt's liberal National Salvation Front (NSF) resigned his post on Friday after the NSF condoned the killing two days earlier of hundreds of anti-coup protestors, but plans to remain in his position as Constitution Party spokesperson.

World Bulletin/News Desk

The spokesperson for Egypt's liberal National Salvation Front (NSF) resigned his post on Friday after the NSF condoned the killing two days earlier of hundreds of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

"The NSF has refused to condemn the massacre perpetrated by security forces when dispersing sit-ins in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda Squares," Khaled Dawoud said in his resignation, which was posted on his Facebook page.

"In so doing, the Front has clearly decided to side with the police in its ongoing confrontation with the Brotherhood," Dawoud added.

On Wednesday, security forces violently dispersed two six-week-old sit-ins in Cairo and Giza staged by Morsi's supporters to protest his July 3 ouster by the military following mass protests against him.

The violent crackdown, which lasted for several hours, resulted in the death of 375 protesters and the injury of over 1000, according to the Health Ministry.

The official death toll remains far below that given by the pro-Morsi National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, which has put the number of deaths from the Rabaa sit-in alone at some 2,600.

Many of the dead and injured had sustained gunshot wounds. When the squares were cleared, several bodies were found partially or completely burnt.

The NSF had enthusiastically supported the 30 June protests that culminated in Morsi's ouster by the military.

The NSF, which includes parties and groups from across the secular political spectrum, was established last November.

Led by reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei and former presidential candidates Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabbahi, the front was initially founded to resist what it viewed as increasingly autocratic behavior by Morsi.

Police state tactics

Dawoud, a journalist and former spokesperson for the liberal Constitution Party, founded last year and led by ElBaradei, condemned the NSF statement released in the wake of Wednesday's bloodshed.

He regretted the front's tacit support for the "swift return of Mubarak's police-military state" by supporting the "lying" Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who said Wednesday's protest dispersals had been carried out with minimal casualties.

"I can never 'hold my head high and announce to the world our victory over political groups who have taken advantage of religion, as was said in the front's statement issued following the dispersal of the sit-ins," Dawoud said.

"I am deeply saddened and ashamed of the bloodshed and I am strongly against the dangerous violations committed by security forces, which led to this huge number of casualties," he added.

Dawoud denounced the adoption of a security solution to deal with ongoing anti-coup demonstrations, calling instead for a political solution "with painful compromises by both parties" -- including the release of detained Muslim Brotherhood leaders and allowing Islamists to reintegrate into the political process.

In the days leading up to Wednesday's violence, negotiation efforts had failed between Egypt's political rivals, with the Brotherhood refusing to accept the army-installed government.

Dawoud also voiced disapproval of the criticisms leveled by some NSF figures at ElBaradei's resignation from the military-backed government in protest against Wednesday's crackdown.

"I completely reject unacceptable attacks against Dr. ElBaradei by some of the front's parties," he said.

"He [ElBaradei] is a man of conscience whose presence was the main source of the credibility that the front had garnered on the local and international levels," Dawoud added. "I wish the front had joined him in his effort to find a political exit from the crisis."

Several of ElBaradei's ideological allies, meanwhile, have denounced his decision to resign from the government.

Ahmed Darrag, former head of the liberal Constitution Party, said he considered ElBaradei's resignation "an abandonment of his [ElBaradei's] country at a time when Egypt needs him most to get through the current situation."

Earlier this week, Darrag himself resigned from the Constitution Party to protest ElBaradei's resignation from the government.

Dawoud, for his part, says he plans to remain in his position as Constitution Party spokesperson.



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