An Egyptian protest campaign, pushing for early presidential elections, said Wednesday it had collected more than 7 million signatures demanding the Islamist President Mohamad Morsi to step down.
“The legitimacy of the [ballot] box, which brought Morsi to power, has been voided due to the blood of the martyrs killed in his era,” said Hassan Shahin, a co-founder of the Tamarod or Rebellion campaign.
“The high turnout for the campaign and the number of signatures prove this,” he added at a press conference in Cairo.
The campaign, which was launched on May 1, aims to collect 15 million signatures to outnumber the votes gained by Morsi in last year’s presidential election. The campaigners, who deny any political affiliation, are confident to meet the targeted endorsements by June 30, which marks Morsi’s first anniversary in office.
Shahin urged Egyptians to take to the streets on June 30 to participate in a mass protest to head to the presidential place in eastern Cairo, raising “red cards” for Morsi.
“We should start an open-ended sit-in outside the Itahadiya palace to achieve a single demand, which is the regime’s departure and call for early presidential elections,” he said.
The secular-leaning opposition accuses Morsi of failing to achieve the objectives of the revolt that brought him to power and of acting at the command of his Muslim Brotherhood group.
When Mahmoud Badr, the spokesman for Tamarod, announced at the same press conference that the campaign had gathered 7.54 million signatures, the venue reverberated with the anti-Morsi slogan: “Leave … leave on June 30.”
Morsi himself Wednesday warned to stand firm against loyalists of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak and criticised what he called “media transgressions.”
“I will not allow an extra step for those who corrupted this country or were a cause for spreading corruption,” Morsi told a televised conference in Cairo.
“I know well who says what and why,” he added, without mentioning the opposition by name.
“Transgressions by some media outlets will be handled by patience and law. I hope the transgressors will realize that transgressions will not be permitted.”
The opposition newspapers and TV stations daily lash out at Morsi, accusing him of failing to rejuvenate the battered economy and achieve national reconciliation.
*Photo courtesy of Hassan Ammar