Tamarod proposes civilian arrest committee to inspect sit-ins

In the latest of a frenzied series of proposals to resolve violent conflicts at the ongoing Rabea al-Adaweya Mosque and Nahda Square sit-ins, the grassroots Tamarod (Rebel) campaign called for the formation of an independent committee with arrest powers, to be tasked with inspecting the various sit-ins for weapons.

Tamarod said it would propose its initiative to the Arab League, which, as a “neutral” body, would form the committee with representatives from the league, the prosecutor general’s office and human rights organizations, said Mahmoud Badr, the general coordinator of the campaign.

The initiative would ensure the “peacefulness of the squares,” Badr said in a phone interview on the Hona al-Asema talk show that aired on the privately owned CBC channel on Sunday.

The committee would inspect sit-ins at Rabea al-Adaweya Mosque and Nahda Square, where deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s supporters are camped, as well as sit-ins at Ettehadiya Presidential Palace and Tahrir Square, where his opponents are gathered.

Armed with arrest powers, committee members would be expected to act immediately and detain protesters should they find proof of illegal weapons possession.

“We cannot accept having weapons in the squares,” Badr said. “Not only does this harm the nation, but harms the very concept of a peaceful protest.”

The committee has to act transparently and inform the public of its findings, especially after the “rumors coming out of the sit-ins about weapons,” Badr assured.

Tamarod was expected to propose the initiative to Arab League chief Nabil al-Araby on Monday.

“Whoever is confident that their sit-in is peaceful will not object to this initiative,” Badr argued, adding that he couldn’t imagine protesters at Tahrir Square and Ettehadiya would refuse the inspection.

In an interview on the same talk show on Saturday, Minister of Trade and Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said imposing a “siege” on protesters at Rabea al-Adaweya was the only peaceful option to disperse the sit-in. He proposed cutting off the Muslim Brotherhood protesters’ supplies, ultimately forcing them to leave.

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