Egypt’s anti-coup alliance calls for mass protests

Cairo, March 24: Egypt’s anti-coup alliance has called for massive protest rallies following the death sentences meted out to hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members.

The coalition, which is made up of dozens of parties and groups, has urged Egyptians to flock to Cairo’s Liberation, Rabia, and Nahdah squares Wednesday to protest the verdict, Iran’s Press TV reported Monday.

This comes after a court in the city of Minya sentenced over 500 supporters of ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, to death.

“The court has decided to sentence to death 529 defendants and 16 were acquitted,” Press TV quoted lawyer Ahmed al-Sharif as saying Monday.

The case is in connection with the killing of a police officer and other acts of violence in the city.

The verdict, which was handed out only three days after the opening of the case and without the defence being heard, may be appealed.

Figures show Egypt’s military-backed government has jailed nearly 16,000 people since July 2013, when Morsi was ousted.

Last year, the Muslim Brotherhood movement was listed by Egyptian authorities as a terrorist group.

Human Rights Watch recently denounced Egypt’s interim government for blacklisting the Muslim Brotherhood, saying the move “appears to be aimed at expanding the crackdown on peaceful Brotherhood activities and imposing harsh sanctions on its supporters”.

Anti-government demonstrators have been holding rallies almost on a daily basis since the army toppled Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president. The demonstrators demand that Morsi be reinstated.

IANS