News / Middle East

Egyptian Runoff Proceeds as Tensions Simmer

Egyptian woman carrying photo of relative killed in 2011 revolution protests high court ruling, Alexandria, June 15, 2012.
Egyptian woman carrying photo of relative killed in 2011 revolution protests high court ruling, Alexandria, June 15, 2012.
VOA News
Angry protesters took to the streets in Cairo and Alexandria Friday, taking aim at a supreme court ruling seen by many as a calculated power-grab by the remnants of the old regime.

Tensions have been high in Egypt since Thursday's Supreme Constitutional Court ruling cast doubt over the future of Egypt's popular revolt.

Many protesters are directing their anger at Ahmed Shafiq, who served as former President Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister.  In the streets of Alexandria, they chanted, "The people demand the fall of Shafiq" and "down with military rule"

Click here for a Storify on Egypt elections

The court's decision overturned a law passed by the Islamist-led parliament that barred senior officials from the Mubarak government from holding office, clearing the way for Shafiq  to compete in a presidential run-off election on Saturday and Sunday.  The justices - holdovers from the Mubarak era - also cited legal problems with the last round of parliamentary elections and called for the Islamist-led parliament to be dissolved.

  • Riot police gathered behind the Maadi Consitutional Courthouse in Cairo, before today's rulings were issued. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Anti-Shafiq protesters chanted outside of the courthouse. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • A young Egyptian protester was calling for Shafiq to be banned from participating in upcoming presidential elections. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Protesters waved anti-Shafiq posters in front of rows of concertina wire, soldiers and police. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Anti-Shafiq protesters reacted angrily after the court ruled that Ahmed Shafiq can run in this weekend's presidential elections.(Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • The courthouse was heavily guarded by military and police. (Y. Weeks for VOA)

Some leading Islamists accuse the country's ruling military council of using the court to stage a de facto coup.

Iman Ahmed, a protester on a hunger strike in Cairo, made an even more dire prediction.

"I think its going to be like a big war in the country. That's what I think, right, and a lot of people think the same," he said.  

But demonstrator and Muslim Brotherhood supporter Hamdy Abdel Rahman says Egyptians will not be intimidated.

"We agreed that after elections we can begin to speak out, because we are confident that the people will have their say, the people will choose the Islamic institution, and they will choose what's right and stay away from remnants of the old regime that wasted their blood, raped them and stole their livelihood under full tyranny," said Abdel Rahman.

VOA's Elizabeth Arrott, in Cairo, reports the anger has been tempered by a weariness shared by many Egyptians.

"There was an interesting tweet yesterday that one very outspoken had said that, you know, we'd be outraged if we weren't so exhausted," said Arrott. "So it has been a very difficult 16 months for people, that they feel that every step they take forward there's one backward.  There's a sizeable part of the population that's just tired of seeing protests and just wants to move on, no matter how flawed this process may be."

The ruling military council has said the runoff election set for Saturday and Sunday between Shafiq and Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi will go on as planned.  

Many Egyptians remain torn, unhappy with the choice before them and there has been some talk of boycotting the vote or of casting nullified ballots as a protest.

Ashraf Mahmoud, in Alexandria, says he sees no alternative but to vote.  

"God willing, Mohammed Morsi (Muslim Brotherhood candidate) is going to win it, even though I disagree a lot with him and I do not like the fact that he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood," explained Mahmoud. "But I am going to vote for him in an attempt to save the revolution and for it to continue, because unfortunately the Supreme Council of Armed Forces has slapped the people (by dismissing the parliament and giving Shafiq the right to continue in the presidential race)"

Despite the anger being directed at the ruling military council, Mona Makram Ebeid with the American University in Cairo says even a Shafiq win does not likely signal a return to the ways of the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak.

"I think that Shafiq will be an excellent statesman. He will not be the man of the regime the people think of. This is behind his back," said Ebeid. "He is looking forward; he is looking to the future. He is giving hope to the young people no matter how suspicious they are of him."  

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said Washington is monitoring the situation and expects to see a "full transfer of power to a democratically-elected civilian government."

"There can be no going back on the democratic transition called for by the Egyptian people," she said.

Speaking to supporters in Cairo Thursday, Ahmed Shafiq called the ruling "historic" and urged all Egyptians to take part in the polls.  But the Muslim Brotherhood says the court ruling indicated that Egypt was heading into "very difficult days that might be more dangerous than the last days of Mubarak's rule."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: mohan from: india
June 15, 2012 5:42 AM
Another country being handed over to Al Queda!
In Response

by: Pasquinel from: Canada
June 15, 2012 2:08 PM
Is Hillary's America naive enough to think that they can call the shots worldwide. The US is swiftly losing superpower status as it's losing it's moral compass. Instead of looking to the ungodly UN, shouldn't we be looking to Almighty God who is in total control? Watch and pray to see what He does, it will be interesting, I guarantee it.
In Response

by: Rogah Calipha from: Toronto Canada
June 15, 2012 8:53 AM
hey Mohan from India.... the Muslim Brotherhood is Al Quaeda... Hamas is Al Quaeda... Hizbullah is the Shiite version of Al Quaeda...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More