The Brotherhood’s supporters said Tuesday that Morsi was unlikely to back down from his decree, even as sporadic clashes erupted between anti-Morsi protesters and security forces in Cairo and the northern city of Mahallah al-Kubra, and a broad coalition of judges continued a strike to protest the curbing of judicial powers.
The Brotherhood called off its own demonstrations Tuesday, hoping to avert violent clashes, Brotherhood officials said. Local media reported clashes between Brotherhood supporters and opponents in Alexandria and at least two cities in Egypt’s Nile Delta when the latter attacked Brotherhood offices.
But Morsi’s unwillingness to back down from his decree also highlighted the conviction held by both sides that five days into Egypt’s latest political stalemate, their group represents the majority.
“I do not think President Morsi will rescind the constitutional declaration no matter how big the protests get” on Tuesday, said Haitham Abdelmoneim, a Brotherhood official in Qalyubiya, north of Cairo. “Our readings of the public opinion suggest that people support the constitutional declaration,” he said.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter handle, Ikhwanweb, tweeted a flood of messages on Tuesday pushing the idea that the Islamists still hold popular sway in the country of 85 million. “Opposition thinks the significance of today is # of Tahrir protestors (200-300k), they shld brace for millions in support of the elected prez,” the group tweeted Tuesday evening.
Shimi said that even as thousands packed into Tahrir Square on Tuesday night, it remained to be seen whether they could muster the clout to force any serious concessions.
“We’ve seen a much more intransigent liberal opposition, which pretty much wants to have it my way or the highway,” he said, adding that if the thousands of protesters remained in Tahrir, they would have the ability to turn themselves into a pressure group.
But electoral politics and grass-roots organization have proved far more effective means of mobilizing the masses since last year’s uprising, he said.
“That’s why the Islamists have been able to win one election after another,” he said.
Ingy Hassieb contributed to this report.