News / Middle East

Egyptian Authorities Vow to End 'Terrorism'

Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi chant slogans during a protest in Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 16, 2013. Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi chant slogans during a protest in Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 16, 2013.
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Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi chant slogans during a protest in Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 16, 2013.
Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi chant slogans during a protest in Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 16, 2013.
Elizabeth Arrott
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and the Anti-Coup Alliance called for another day of protest Sunday, as authorities dismissed international criticism over their violent crackdown on opponents.
 
Interim foreign minister Nabil Fahmy said Sunday the international community has been silent about the “criminal acts” of the protesters.

Challenges to the Islamists and anti-government protesters continue to mount - with the interim government mulling a possible ban on the Muslim Brotherhood -  and other Islamists reportedly arrested and killed.

Still, supporters turned out overnight in rallies across the country, defying curfew in Alexandria, Minya and Helwan, just south of the capital.

The marches came after a day that saw the siege of a Cairo mosque by security forces and civilian supporters.  Protesters had sought refuge in the al-Fath mosque in Ramses Square, but the stand-off appeared to end without the devastating loss of life we've seen in other confrontations in recent days.

  • Women activists of Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) hold pictures of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi during a pro-Morsi rally in Islamabad on August 18, 2013.
  • Egyptian residents in Japan and their supporters stage a rally in front of the Egyptian embassy in Tokyo to protest the killing of hundreds of anti-government demonstrators, August 18, 2013.
  • Egyptian residents in Japan and their supporters stage a rally in front of the Egyptian embassy in Tokyo to protest police and army crackdown on demonstrators in Egypt, Aug. 18, 2013.
  • Egyptians security forces escort a protester out of the al-Fatah mosque and through angry crowds following a day of fierce street battles that left scores of people dead, near Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 17, 2013.
  • A protester displays a banner during a rally in front of the Egyptian embassy in Tokyo on August 18, 2013.
  • Malaysian Muslims offer special prayers called "Qunut Nazilah" during a rally to oppose the military overthrow of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi and subsequent killings, in Kuala Lumpur on August 17, 2013.
  • A girl looks from a car window with a 'wanted' poster of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R), the army chief who ousted Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi (L poster), as she joins a a rally against the crackdown on protesters in Egypt in central London on August 17, 20
  • Demonstrators supporting Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi fly Egyptian flags from their car windows during a rally against the crackdown on protesters in Egypt in central London on August 17, 2013.
  • Women activists of Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) hold pictures of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi during a pro-Morsi rally in Islamabad on August 18, 2013.
  • Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo August 18, 2013.
  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi chant slogans during a protest in Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 16, 2013.
  • Protesters hold signs during a demonstration condemning the recent deadly military crackdown on supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo on August 17, 2013, at the New Mosque in Istanbul.
  • An Egyptian protester reacts as a supporter of ousted President Mohamed Morsi falls after being shot while standing in front of Egyptian Army tanks during a protest in Ismailiya, Egypt, Aug. 16, 2013.

The government remained on the offensive, calling their operations a move against “terrorism.”  That seems to be piling on to the rhetoric of state media in the demonization of the largely Islamist anti-military forces.

And as apparent confirmation  - authorities said they had arrested Sinai-based jihadist Mohamed Zawahri --  brother of al-Qaida chief Ayman Zawahiri -- at a checkpoint near Cairo.

A presidential advisor spoke of the “black flag” of al-Qaida being lifted in protests.  It's also the  banner used by many different ultra-conservative Muslims.

But there are millions of Brotherhood followers who are ordinary citizens who remain defiant  because their freely elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted by the military.

And they are now facing another opponent - increasing numbers of pro-security vigilantes - armed with everything from sticks and machetes to hand and machine guns, adding another volatile element to the mix.

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