Wednesday’s papers: Secular and Islamist groups seek unity to keep sit-in going

Most local newspapers Wednesday highlight ongoing talks between secular and Islamist groups in preparation for Friday protests. Each camp was expected to demonstrate for different reasons, but groups are now working to unifty their demands.

Privately-owned daily Al-Shorouk leads with the headline: “Five demands unify political forces on the Friday of Popular Will and united front.” The paper has been mediating between Islamists, who vowed to take to the streets in support of Islamic Law on Friday against secularists, whom they believe seek to wipe out Egypt's Muslim identity.

According to most newspapers, the two blocs agreed to put aside their differences and take to the streets to voice common grievances. More than 15 parties and groups have signed onto a statement of demands, including ending military trials for civilians, retrying civilians who were convicted by military tribunals, expediting trials for those accused of killing revolution martyrs, holding quick and fair trials for ex-officials, offering appropriate compensation to martyrs’ families, raising the living standard and instating minimum and maximum wages, and reactivating the treason law to try ex-officials for political corruption crimes.
The signatories listed in Al-Shorouk’s report are mostly non-Islamist groups, with the exception of Jama'a al-Islamiya. Meanwhile, Al-Ahram newspaper reports that the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis said they would engage in the “Friday of Popular Will” protest if secular demonstrators agree not to issue contentious demands, including their call for guidelines for drafting the constitution. In the meantime, they opposed any criticism of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) or the cabinet.
Instead of leading with the debate on Friday protests, Al-Akhbar leads with: “A sweeping purge expected today.” The state-owned daily says that leaders of the disbanded National Democratic Party will be sacked from their senior positions in the bureaucracy. It also says that the Treason Lawwhich some hope will be used for prosecuting regime officials will be amended and applied and that the new governors will be announced next week. These moves come in compliance with demands echoed earlier this month by hundreds of thousands who took to the streets nationwide, demanding that all state institutions be purged of Mubarak’s men.
Al-Akhbar also reports that former President Hosni Mubarak has appealed an earlier verdict that fined him and his former prime minister, Ahmed Nazif, LE240 million for cutting communication services during the revolution. Mubarak and Nazif insisted in their appeal that they were not behind the decision to cut mobile phone and internet service. 
In the meantime, the paper quotes an anonymous source who refutes rumors that Mubarak died, affirming that the medical status of the 83-year-old former ruler is stable. Mubarak and his sons have been held in custody since April over allegations of involvement with killing protesters and making illicit gains. Mubarak is supposed to stand trial 3 August along with his former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, on the charges of killing protesters. At least 846 protesters were killed during the 18-day uprising.
On another front, controversial writer Belal Fadl dedicated his column today in Al-Tahrir newspaper to commenting on the sacking of TV host Dina Abdel Rahman from the privately-owned Dream TV channel. Abdel Rahman was fired earlier this week after arguing with a SCAF consultant who called in to criticize her show for reviewing a column critical of the military.
“When we have a civil, elected rule that derives its legitimacy from the people and fears people’s anger, no former or incumbent general will be able to insult any Egyptian citizen because he would be held accountable, and no channel owner will be afraid to upset the military establishment and hence won't decide to pay it a compliment,” wrote Fadl.
In his conclusion, Fadl announced that he decided to stop hosting his famous show, “Book summaries,” on Dream TV, “not only to show solidarity with Dina … but because I believe  it would be inappropriate to host a cultural show on channel run in this way."
Egypt's papers:
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party
Youm7: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

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