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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid