Originally published in The Independent, 23 June 2013
The Egyptian military has warned that it is prepared to step in should the nationwide demonstrations expected this week descend into chaos.
A statement from General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged the nation’s bickering political factions to forge consensus ahead of the protests.
“The will of the Egyptian nation is what governs us and we protect it with honour,” said Mr Al-Sisi.
Huge numbers of people are expected to demonstrate in cities across Egypt this weekend to demand the resignation of Mohamed Morsi, prompting fears that the country will face further unrest,
Despite the expectation for mass marches on Sunday 30 June – exactly one year after Mr Morsi was elected – nobody appears certain about what might unfold over the following days.
In what counts as a substantial political gamble, most of the major opposition figures have lined up behind the protests. Many of Mr Morsi’s Islamist allies have vowed to fight any attempt to remove him by force, and are incensed at what they see as an illegitimate attempt to undermine Mr Morsi’s democratic election last year.
The statement came as Adel Al-Khayat, the Islamic fundamentalist who was appointed to govern the ancient city of Luxor, resigned following a wave of indignation among locals and businesses.
During the 1990s, Mr Al-Khayat was a prominent figure in Gamaa Islamiya, the militant group which carried out a notorious massacre of 58 tourists and four Egyptians in a Luxor temple.