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Egyptians Divided on Way Forward

Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour, has announced a timetable for parliamentary and presidential elections in a bid to move the country forward and away from a cycle of violence after the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi.

But while most of those who backed the military's action last week welcomed the decision, Muslim Brotherhood supporters have vowed to continue their protests to reinstate the Islamist leader.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters gathered in the thousands again on Tuesday for the funeral of those killed in clashes with the military on Monday.

Despite the violence, the Brotherhood has not budged from its demand that Morsi be reinstated. And it has rejected the country's interim leadership's attempt to amend the constitution, the nomination of a new prime minister and announcement of a timetable for elections.

The military and the interim leadership have called on the Brotherhood to again join the political process.

But senior Brotherhood member Abdel-Rahman El-Barr said that reconciliation wass only possible if Morsi was reinstated as president.

“What is acceptable is that legitimacy is restored once again, and the legitimately elected president returns, and matters proceed once again according to the constitution and Egyptian law. In this case, it is possible to consider reconciliation and in this condition it will be possible to move forward. And this is the logical solution to the crisis," he said.

Soldiers are still positioned around Cairo's most sensitive buildings. The military would be ready to return them to barracks the moment security is established, said analyst and retired general Sameh Seif Elyazal.

“It's their choice, it's the choice of the Muslim Brotherhood now,” he said. “If they want to join the new political forces even as an opposition group, no problem at all. Or they want to stay carrying weapons, carrying kalashnikovs, and killing people. It's up to them.”

The military said it ousted Morsi in response to the millions of Egyptians who rose up to demand his departure after he failed to fix the country's struggling economy and unify the country.

Now, Mahmoud Badr, a founder of the Tamarod Campaign that sparked the civilian uprising, said the people were united. Standing on the narrow balcony of a gray apartment building in Cairo, Badr said he was convinced that with the army, police and the majority of the people on the same side, the country would move forward.

“It is impossible that the big and great Egypt, and anyone concerned about its stability, would allow a group of terrorists to govern us by force or by threats,” said Badr. “We will not allow terrorism to rule us. Egypt overcame terrorism before and will do so again, even if they try to rule us by force, regardless of who it is.”
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    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.