News / Middle East

Egypt Protesters Defy Warning to Disperse

Morsi Supporters Vow No Compromise Ahead of Siegei
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August 12, 2013
Egyptian authorities have warned again a siege of anti-government encampments is imminent, but tens of thousands of demonstrators camped out in key areas of Cairo remain defiant. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from the Egyptian capital.

Morsi Supporters Vow No Compromise Ahead of Siege

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Elizabeth Arrott
Egyptian authorities have warned again that a siege of anti-government encampments is imminent, but tens of thousands of demonstrators camped out in key areas of Cairo remain defiant. 
 
At the main anti-government encampment in Cairo on Monday, it's hard to tell the threat of a crackdown looms.
 
On the streets outside Rabaa al Adaweya mosque, a group of young men played an informal game of football.  Children cheered them on, seeming oblivious to a government warning that actions against the camp will come soon.
 
But the protesters were ready.  They had food, water trucks, generators, even satellite dishes. 
 
It's a city within a city, and despite the threat of a siege, police remain far away and more people keep arriving.
  
Past the barricades on the outskirt of the camp, Mustafa Mahmud, a retiree with two young children arrived for the day - as he has each day since early July when President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military after massive rallies against him. 
 
Mahmud pointed out the places where people died in previous battles with police. He hoped there wiould be no more violence, but said people are accepting of what may come next. 
 
“Aren't we all a martyr's project?” he asked.
 
Government warns protesters
 
The government calls the encampment a threat to security, pointing to provocations from some among the protesters, and the near daily marches that disrupt traffic throughout the city.
 
International envoys have been trying to find a way out of the impasse, and on Sunday, the Sheikh of Al-Azhar offered mediation.
 
But the leading Sunni cleric's offer has been rejected by those inside the camp. Mohamed Soltan, the camp's volunteer media coordinator, explained the position. 
 
“The Ahmed el Tayeb, who has taken a huge part, who is the religious face of this military coup, is now coming and saying 'Hey we're coming up with some sort of mediation, whatever,'" he said.
 
"That's unacceptable," he added. "Imagine telling that to the mother of a martyr?” 
 
Morsi remains jailed 
 
On Monday, the Egyptian interim government extended Morsi's detention for 15 days.
 
Soltan said the demand that Morsi be reinstated is non-negotiable
 
“We have nothing but that," he said. "The other side has guns, has armies, has media, has a judiciary system, has money.  They have everything and they're the ones not willing to compromise.  We don't have anything. we're out on the streets.  We have nothing.”
 
The government has portrayed those camped here as dangerous radicals and certainly the rhetoric of Islamism is everywhere. But for some that's not the point.
 
Mostafa Mahmud, standing by his children, explained he is not a Muslim Brother and he is not defending Morsi.  
 
Mahmud said he took part in a democratic process, repeatedly waiting in long lines at the ballot box. 
 
"Where is my vote?" he asked.
 

  • A supporter of ousted President Mohamed Morsi throws a tear gas canister back towards the police during clashes in central Cairo, August 13, 2013.
  • A local resident throws stones towards supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi during clashes in central Cairo, August 13, 2013.
  • A security volunteer checks a supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi as he enters Nahda Square, Cairo, August 12, 2013.
  • An army soldier stands alert over an armored vehicle near Nahda Square, where supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi have installed their camp, Cairo, August 12, 2013.
  • A supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi listens to a speech at the main stage in the sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque, Cairo, August 12, 2013.
  • A street football match at the Rabaa al Adaweya encampment, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA
  • Cooling off -- a young boy hoses down the crowds in the August heat, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • A generator that could provide backup if the government cuts power to the area, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • A tea vendor at Rabaa el Adaweya encampment, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Tending to the paving stones marking where Morsi supporters died in clashes last month, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • A young girl heads back to her tent at the protest encampment, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA)

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 14, 2013 2:46 AM
If Muslim borotherhood members are included in major part of this camp, they do not look like extremists. They just have been sitting in patiently and calling for Morsi's reinstatement. When and how will intelim government be replaced by legitimale one? Any election is planned near future?


by: William Norman
August 13, 2013 12:10 PM
In Egypt, things look far worse at the moment. The leader of the military coup, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has promised to confront Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood with maximum force. In two separate incidents in July, security forces opened fire on supporters of the Brotherhood as they peacefully protested against Mr. Morsi’s ouster and arrest, killing almost 200 people. Secret-police units that were active under former president Hosni Mubarak (and known for their frequent use of torture) are being reconstituted for the first time since the 2011 revolution.

None of this is either democratic or liberal. And yet many Egyptians, including some human-rights activists, have endorsed it.


by: monem from: cairo
August 13, 2013 6:21 AM
u think you are deceiving the world, and American people, this is not the real story about what really happening in Egypt, the MB are terrorist group and want to make Egypt like Afghanistan.the are blocking the streets, and creating of anarchy.let me ask you about the other side and other opinion. respect our minds.


by: Sani Aliyu Hunkuyi(Mr.) from: Nigeria
August 12, 2013 9:35 PM
Describing Sheikh of Al-Azhar offer for mediation as the religious face of the military led government should tell the Interim Government or the Military that the best solution is to form a committee that should comprise of not only one but a number of highly respected Islamic Clerics that would meet both the side of military's interim government and the side of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. President Morsi should himself be met by the respected Islamic Clerics. Both sides of military and Morsi being Muslims should accept the final recommendation of the Committee of Islamic Clerics even if it means the recommendation to reinstate President Morsi or the recommendation to start the democratic process all over again starting with enactment of new constitution to the election of new President which Mohamed Morsi and oppositions like ElBaradei should all get equal opportunity to contest and prove their acceptability to Egyptians. The Treaty of Hudaybiyya under which our beloved Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W) was humble enough to relax the position of Muslims even when some of his companions felt they were giving into the demands of pagans. The Pagan Arabs of Makkah equally relaxed their positions. This should serve as a good guide for Muslims of both sides to be humble for the sake of Allah. President Morsi and his advisers as well as the military side should both relax their hard stance for the sake of Allah with the hope to get reward from Allah even if the relaxations would not be acceptable to Western countries or Israelites or whoever they are working for. President Mursi should after getting the recommendation of learned and respected Islamic Clerics Committee(which terms of reference may include the compensation to pay for those who lost their lives or any material lost of wealth) and then President Mursi is the best person to tell his Supporters(i.e. the Protesters) to go back home. The recommendation of payment for compensation, the money may come from rich Islamic Countries like Saudi Arabia.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 12, 2013 11:05 AM
All hail the Egypt army, police and the security operatives for keeping safe distance and clean slate since the protests began. They deserve even more kudos for suspense that is aimed at wearying the demonstrators. Threatening to disperse them by force and not doing it must be frustrating to the organizers of the protests who found new love with the word martyr, as if they were fighting and dieing for a just cause and not the selfish demand to further frustrate democracy and deny fundamental human rights to people outside of islam. Definitely they will wear out, no matter how much the sponsors are prepared to spend. The bottom line is they won't get what they want - army crackdown that will give the army a bad name. As for the economy, it's alright that Qatar pumps in enough liquidity to sustain the thousands in the field daily. Of more benefit also is the issue of commerce going in the camps where emergency construction of gas masks, fast food eateries and other commercial activities are going on. People will learn more skills to be self-employed by the time the demonstrations are over. While no thanks go to Qatar for this unsolicited youth and women empowerment in the camps, Egypt will not be the loser at the end. Instead the government will find ways to harness the benefits of these new skills acquired to improve the economy at both the individual and national levels.


by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
August 12, 2013 10:07 AM
Any sit ins, blocking the streets, fortification of streets and public places and creation of anarchy is terrorism anywhere. They are not peaceful protest marches. The only intention is to create violence and martyrs by the political entities. These type of protests should be stopped by every government for the security of the nation and the public. The only way to stop the anarchy is to block all access to these sit ins by the police and military, allowing only the protester to get out of the police and military cordon and not to let anyone entry to the sit in sites. Once the supplies hoarded by the protesters run out, they will leave the sites, without much force by the military. But the protesters are armed and they will always try to provoke violence, which is the ultimate aim of all sit ins.


by: J. El from: Giza
August 12, 2013 9:48 AM
Great pose! FAKERS!

I saw how these photos are set up... and they are completely fake.

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