It is just a military coup, says al-Biltaji

Muslim Brotherhood senior leader Muhammad al-Biltaji believes that the Egypt President (Picture) was deposed from power by the army, and is determined to rally his Muslim brotherhood in fighting against the military coup.

EGYPT - There is an arrest warrant out for him for allegedly inciting violence but Muslim Brotherhood senior leader Muhammad al-Biltaji does not seem to be bothered.

"I do not care if I am detained or not. That is insignificant. Our primary concern is fighting against the military coup," al-Biltaji said in an interview with The Star at the Rabaa' Al-Adawiyah pro-Morsi protest site.

"What revolution in the world lasts for only six hours?"

He does not think that the elected president Mohamed Morsi was unseated because millions had thronged Tahrir Square on June 30 to demand his removal.

Instead, he thinks that there are some other plot and power at play here.

"The army used a six-hour protest as an excuse to remove Morsi from power and portray it as if it is a people's revolution when it is actually a coup," he said.

"If Opposition parties really had enough support on the ground, they would have resorted to a peaceful democratic process."

During Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign, the Brotherhood suffered politically, with many of its leaders thrown into jail and banned from politics for years.

But after the 2011 revolution, which saw the downfall of Mubarak, the Brotherhood seemed to enjoy a new lease of political life.

They formed the Freedom and Justice Party and took part in elections.

In what was widely seen as a free and fair election, Brotherhood's Morsi contested and won the presidency on June 30, 2012, to become the country's first Islamist president.

But within a year, people had grown weary and impatient that their lives had not gotten any better and their economic woes were mounting, with prices of goods spiralling.

Riding on the wave of dissatisfaction, Tamrod which means Rebel, a youth-led social movement, collected up to 22 million signatures to get Morsi removed from the post.

This culminated in the June 30 massive street protest where millions poured into Tahrir Square. That massive protest - the biggest Egypt has ever seen in its history - lasted about six hours.

Supposedly heeding the public outcry against Morsi, the army then gave the president a 48-hour ultimatum to make changes. Two days later, on July 3, it booted him out.

The army's top general also suspended the contentious constitution which was put together during Morsi's one year in office. He dissolved parliament and named Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court's chief justice, Adly Mansour, as the interim president.

Mansour will be in charge of the amendments to the constitution to make it more inclusive and the setting up of a timetable for fresh parliamentary elections, followed by presidential elections.

Al-Biltaji said there was no way that the Brotherhood was going to take part in new elections.

He said Morsi was only human and there were many people who had differences with him and the Brother-hood but they were against the manner in which he was ousted.

The army-backed ouster has galvanised Morsi's supporters and those who are upset that the democratic process has been shoved aside.

They have been showing up in huge numbers at Rabaa Al-Adawiyah and Nahda Square for rallies to demand his reinstatement.

"What you are seeing here is a protest, not by Muslim Brotherhood, but by Egyptians. We only honour the protest, not create it," added al-Biltaji.

On July 8, during subuh (early morning) prayers, soldiers and the police opened fire at pro-Morsi protesters near Rabba Al Adawiyah in front of the Republican Guard headquarters, killing 55 people.

The security forces said they were defending themselves from an attack by armed protesters who were trying to get into the Republican Guard building where Morsi supporters believed he was being detained.

Following that bloody day, the police has rounded up a number of Brotherhood members and issued warrants of arrest against its top leaders, including al-Biltaji and revered spiritual leader Mohamed Badie, accusing them of inciting the violence.

Al-Biltaji said instead of scaring people off, these arrests had the opposite effect.

"It has brought our supporters even closer together and won us more sympathy from others," he said.

To him, it looks like Egypt has now gone back to the pre-2011 revolution days with no constitution, no parliament and where the Egyptian media is being kept under a tight leash and TV stations are being shut down.

"It looks like the dark phase of the former regime is back and at its worst."

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