News / Middle East

Egypt Braces for More Unrest Over Football Riot Case

Egyptian protesters throw stones at riot police during clashes near a state security building in Port Said, March 7, 2013.Egyptian protesters throw stones at riot police during clashes near a state security building in Port Said, March 7, 2013.
x
Egyptian protesters throw stones at riot police during clashes near a state security building in Port Said, March 7, 2013.
Egyptian protesters throw stones at riot police during clashes near a state security building in Port Said, March 7, 2013.
Elizabeth Arrott
Egyptians are bracing for further unrest ahead of Saturday's expected sentencing of more than 50 men in last year's deadly Port Said stadium riot.
 
In the first round of sentencing in January, 21 men, most of them Port Said residents, were condemned to death, sparking violent protests in the port city and other towns along the Suez Canal. The protests merged with anti-government actions across the country marking two years since revolution plunged Egypt into an era of uncertainty.
 
In the past few days, at least six people have been killed and dozens more injured as tensions surrounding the case continued to escalate.
 
While Saturday's sentencing is most likely to affect Port Said hardest, former Al-Masry Al-Youm publisher and democracy activist Hisham Kassem warns it will exacerbate deep political divisions across the nation.
 
"I don't think that the violence that will result from the ruling is going to be contained to Port Said in that case, but it seems to be spreading because of the deteriorating face of authority in Egypt," he said.
 
President Mohamed Morsi and his government have been facing calls from street protesters and the opposition to step down or, at the least, form a more inclusive unity government to move through the current crisis.
 
Tensions between the Islamist leader and his secular, nationalist and anarchist opponents are compounding an economic crisis that risks bankrupting the country within months.
 
Lines to buy gasoline, power cuts and rising prices bring the problems home daily; security concerns have forced key government offices to close.
 
Political analyst and former intelligence officer General Sameh Seif al Yazal says it is not clear how well the government — the interior ministry in particular — can maintain control.
 
"Egypt now is in the phase of 'fragile state,' which is the last phase before collapsing the entire country, and I can see that in front of me," he said.
 
Hopes that Egypt's political transition process would begin wrapping up next month with parliamentary elections were dealt a new blow this week, with a court challenge to the proceedings.
 
Even if the elections go ahead on time, some opposition parties have pledged a boycott.
 
The unrest has sparked speculation in the Egyptian media that the military might intervene, as it did following the ousting of the old government. But publisher Kassem says that despite efforts by the Morsi government to get the military on its side, the armed forces may be reluctant to deploy.
 
"If they do deploy, they will not deploy to keep President Morsi in power as much as they will deploy to regain stability in the country," he said. "That might entail they insist on Morsi resigning before they deploy to avoid being perceived as deploying to save an unpopular, failed president."
 
The government hopes to reverse the slide by offering talks with the opposition and by receiving further financial help from such countries as Qatar, and a loan from the International Monetary Fund.
 
But the opposition has largely rejected Morsi's overtures as insincere, while the IMF deal would entail austerity measures and possible further unrest.
 
There are few voices of optimism these days in the country, where some, like retired general al Yazal, see the problems as having brought about a fundamental change.
 
"Egypt has been known for decades that we are a very peaceful country and we are very moderate," he said. "Unfortunately, we are not moderate now and not peaceful."
 
Al Yazal says his point of view makes him sad, but adds that he is just "trying to be realistic."

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid