High-ranking sources within the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat the party’s plans to mobilize proponents and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi ahead of his trial, which is scheduled to begin on November 4.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday, Brotherhood sources—the majority of whom are grassroots leaders and students from Al-Azhar University in the Egyptian capital—said that the information they have received recently from Brotherhood leaders in Cairo and the provinces indicates that the group will try to disrupt the trial of former President Mursi and attempt to prevent the police from escorting him to the courtroom.
The plans also call for Brotherhood supporters and student activists from the private Al-Azhar University to create disturbances in the main squares in Cairo and Giza, in order to divert the security forces from the area where the ousted president will be tried.
Mursi is being tried on charges of incitement to murder and violence in connection with the deaths of several protesters during demonstrations outside the federal presidential palace in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis during his time in office.
Since Mursi’s departure, the Brotherhood and its supporters have tried and failed to sustain a presence in the central squares of Egypt’s major cities amid widespread violence during fierce security crackdowns against its protests camps, that have left hundreds dead.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the Brotherhood sources said that the organization’s plan is designed “to force authorities to postpone the trial out of fear of pro-Mursi crowds congregating in front of the trial headquarters and in several vital squares and streets.”
They added that the plan includes protests in all of the famous neighborhoods of Greater Cairo, outside official buildings, and in the Cairo subway. All these plans are part of a larger strategy of obstructing key routes near Tahrir Square in central Cairo and the areas of Rabaa Al-Adawiya, Al-Nahda and Roxy Square, close to the presidential palace.
Additionally, the sources revealed that the plan also focuses on the party’s youth luring security forces to the areas mentioned in order to draw the police into the main squares and roads. Meanwhile, Brotherhood youth arriving from the provinces will stage a sit-in in front of the venue of Mursi’s trial.
The sources reported that “leaders of the group have called on the families of the Brotherhood residing in the governorates adjacent to Cairo to participate in these events.” The plan was described as the most organized “since the coup against the president’s legitimacy.”
The sources did not specify the location of the courthouse for Mursi’s trial and stated: “No information has yet been revealed regarding the headquarters where he will be tried.” They said that “irrespective of where it is, the party will mobilize in its masses, even if it is in the center of the capital.”
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, a judicial source said that the trial is likely to be held in a police training facility close to Tora Prison, in the Ma’adi suburb of Cairo. He indicated that this location has been agreed by the Court of Appeal and officials from the Ministry of the Interior. The source stressed that the location of the former president’s trial will be formally announced on Sunday.
Security sources, however, have denied this claim and asserted that the courthouse for Mursi’s trial will only be publicly announced a few hours before the start of the trial. The alleged last-minute announcement will also be made in anticipation of the Brotherhood’s preparations for mobilizing a crowd of demonstrators in front of the courthouse and besieging the area on the first day of trial hearings.
Security sources suggested that “there will be maximum security at the trial, and further developments will be made for strict security measures at all the places that witness Brotherhood demonstrations on the day of the trial.”
They stressed that they will not allow Mursi supporters to demonstrate or stage a sit-in in front of the courthouse, and that there is a court security plan to arrest all those who break the law or who participate in riots.