Morsy's appointees spark clashes across Egypt
CAIRO — The decision by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy to name 17 provincial governors, including several who belong to his former party, triggered another round of violence here and the reported resignation of a top minister.
The events stoked fears that Egypt's first democratically elected leader was increasing Islamists' control over the nation.
Such violence, which included clashes in at least three cities that involved small arms fire and Molotov cocktails, would be worrisome under any circumstances. But that it came just 11 days before Morsy's one-year anniversary in office, when mass protests are planned across the country, has raised the heightened tension.
On Wednesday, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization through which Morsy ascended to the presidency, and his opponents clashed on the streets of cities where seven of the 17 new governors are Islamists, according to MENA, the state news agency.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood or their backers now control 11 of Egypt's 27 governorates.
The most controversial of the appointments was Luxor's new governor, Adel Al Khayat, a member of Gama'a Islamiyya. The group is suspected to have been behind the 1997 bombing of a popular tourist site in Luxor, killing 58 foreign visitors, a watershed event that sent Egypt's then-thriving tourism into decline. Luxor, the country's top southern destination, has never fully recovered.
In protest of the appointment, Morsy's tourism minister, Hesham Zazou, a secularist and political independent, reportedly resigned from the cabinet.
The cabinet's spokesman, Alaa al-Hadidi, said Prime Minister Hesham Kandil has not accepted Zazou's resignation, however, and that he would attend the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, according to the newspaper Al-Ahram.
Zazou, who served as a deputy tourism minister until his appointment in August, was thought to have been put in the post to assuage fears among tourists that Egypt would crack down on such things as alcohol and women at public beaches.