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Egypt Protests Continue Despite Deadline to Disperse

  • Heather Murdock

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans and hold up posters during a rally marching back towards Rabaa al-Adawiya Square where they are camping, in Cairo, August 2, 2013.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans and hold up posters during a rally marching back towards Rabaa al-Adawiya Square where they are camping, in Cairo, August 2, 2013.

Despite reports of fresh violence in Egypt's capital and military orders to disband, supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi again came out en masse Friday night, saying the order to leave the protest camps has only made them more determined to stay put.

This protest coordinated by the Muslim Brotherhood is relatively quiet before demonstrators break their daily Ramadan fast, but the crowds are thick, with more people coming in from every direction.

Speeches blare on loudspeakers and crowds gather around a stage decorated with flags and posters of Morsi.

Seham Hussein said she and her family come to the camp almost every day to support Morsi, who remains detained after being thrown out of office July 3.

She said the order to leave the camp, and even the promise of safe passage out, has not deterred her family, or anyone else. Her 16-year-old daughter, Abeer, wears a pin that says,“Down with military rule” in Arabic.

There are fears of violence if police go ahead with plans to dismantle the tent camps. Earlier in the day, there were reports of clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters of Morsi and the police.

Police on Friday ordered a blockade around protest camps and gave anti-military protesters 48 hours to leave peacefully.

But Abeer said children are protected by the dozens of guards checking bags and searching for weapons at protest entrances, which are piled high with sandbags. Besides, she said, demonstrations are where children learn to stand up for their rights.

Across town, in Tahrir Square, crowds are thin, because no specific demonstration in favor of Army Chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi was called. Vendors were out, though, offering food, Egyptian flag face painting, and flags. Pro-military crowds often gather in Tahrir Square on Friday nights, even if no event has been organized.

Fifteen-year-old Eslam said he has been living in Tahrir Square for months. He stands near a display showing a wedding dress with an Egyptian flag where the bride’s face would be, placed next to a picture of Sissi on top of a suit. The display symbolizes Egypt’s wedding to the general, and Eslam said Sissi saved Egypt from Islamist rule.

Outside the pro-Morsi camp, however, protester Gilel Ahmed said that regardless of whether people like Morsi, he was elected fairly.

“I’m over 60 years [old]. I would like to see my country go for democracy. I don’t care about Morsi. I care about my democracy. I care about freedom. I care about what Egypt deserves,” said Ahmed.

Ahmed enters a pro-Morsi camp wearing a T-shirt that says, “I love Egypt,” which is strikingly similar to shirts available for sale in the pro-military camp in Tahrir Square.

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