Egypt Islamists blame violence on opposition
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's most powerful Muslim group on Wednesday blamed the secular and liberal opposition for a wave of violence over the appointment of new Islamist governors.
A statement by the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood said the refusal of opposition leaders to talk to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was to blame for the violence in four Nile Delta provinces, the city of Alexandria and two regions south of the capital, Cairo.
The Freedom and Justice Party statement also accused security forces of laxity in dealing with the violence and demanded them to take all necessary measures to counter "sabotage and chaos" from emerging at mass protests called by the opposition for June 30.
Tuesday's clashes, many of which involved Brotherhood members, erupted following the appointment on Sunday of 17 new governors, who included seven from the group.
The statement made no mention of the part played by Morsi's supporters, and said the violence was a preview of what could happen during the upcoming protest, whose organizers say aim to force Morsi out.
"National forces and political parties must disavow these criminal acts and lift any political cover for violence," said the statement. "At the end, the Freedom and Justice party asserts its commitment to dialogue and calls on the opposition to respond to the several initiatives urging the rejection of violence."
The June 30 protest campaign is rooted in a months-long petition drive called "Tamarod" - or "Rebel" - that claims to have collected up to 15 million signatures on a call for Morsi to step down and for early elections to be held. Organizers of the campaign say its success shows how anger at the government and the Brotherhood has transcended the core opposition to the public at large.
Morsi won the presidency with some 52 percent of the vote in a run-off a year ago against Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under now-ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak. He secured the votes of many of the liberal and secular activists who engineered the 2011 uprising against Mubarak and who did not want to see a Mubarak loyalist rule.