Egypt’s opposition coalition rejected on Friday a dialogue proposed by President Mohamed Morsi to defuse bloody protests over sweeping powers he assumed to speed through a new constitution.
The National Salvation Front said it had decided “to refuse to take part in a dialogue proposed by the president for tomorrow, Saturday.”
The coalition said Morsi, in a speech late Thursday, “went against the repeated appeals to him to offer consensus solutions… to lift Egypt out of its current disastrous situation.”
In the televised speech, Morsi defiantly defended his decree placing his decisions beyond judicial review last month, and said he would push on with a December 15 referendum to change Egypt’s constitution along lines drafted by a mostly Islamist panel.
Morsi also offered to hold talks with the opposition on Saturday, but showed little inclination to compromise.
The changes have sparked massive protests in Cairo which this week turned bloody, with seven people killed and more than 600 injured in clashes between supporters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and demonstrators from the mostly secular, liberal opposition.
The National Salvation Front said “the president has totally ignored that it was his supporters who started to attack peaceful demonstrators in front of the (presidential) palace.”
It accused Morsi of “dividing Egyptians between his ‘supporters of legitimacy’… and his opponents, whom he calls ‘thugs’.”
The statement said that Morsi, “in this way, confirms that he is not acting as a president for all Egyptians, but as president for a single political faction.”