News / Middle East

Pro-Morsi Protesters Pack the Streets of Cairo

Egyptian soldiers stand guard near the Republican Guard headquarters, Cairo, July 19, 2013.
Egyptian soldiers stand guard near the Republican Guard headquarters, Cairo, July 19, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Sharon Behn
Tens of thousands of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi filled the streets of Cairo Friday, demanding the Islamist leader be returned to power. Waving the Egyptian flag and holding up posters, they marched through the summer heat shouting "Morsi is our President!" and "Egypt is Islamic," vowing to die for their cause.
 
Organized by the Muslim Brotherhood — a group that was banned until the 2011 revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak — the protestors are furious at what they call a military power grab at the expense of democracy.
 
Their demonstrations are getting bigger, and their slogans more adamant.
 
One young student marching in downtown Cairo, Mahmoud Tahir, grabbed a bullhorn to lead shouts against Army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, whom the Brotherhood calls a traitor.

Story continues beneath photo gallery
Supporters of Egypt's ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi hold a banner during street marches in Cairo, saying their votes were lost. (photo: Nagwa el Hamzawi)
Supporters of Egypt's ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi hold a banner during street marches in Cairo, saying their votes were lost. (photo: Nagwa el Hamzawi)
Saying that it only responded to the will of the people, Egypt's military ousted Morsi on July 3. Since then, the former leader has been held at an undisclosed location despite calls for his release by the United States and the European Union.
 
Dueling demonstrations

But the Muslim Brotherhood is rejecting calls by Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour to negotiate an end to the protests and join the new interim government.
 
Instead, for more than two weeks, they have staged sit-ins outside Rabaa al Adaweyeh mosque in Cairo's Nasr city, where hundreds of people, mostly men, sleep on mats laid out on the streets and sidewalks in the shade of sagging tents. Brotherhood leaders say they will keep up their campaign of civil protest until their demands are met.
 
Across the city in Tahrir Square, anti-Morsi protestors are just as nationalistic and determined to keep the Islamist leader out of power.
 
Also angry at what they see as a minority group trying to impose its ideology on Egypt, but also rallied by the military's support for their cause, they are convinced they have won the country back.
 
In the more festive atmosphere of Tahrir, huge cheers erupt from the square when military helicopters and jets streak through the skies above. Throughout the day, Egyptian F-16 fighter jets flew over the capital to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War against Israel. Pro-government supporters dubbed their rally the “Friday of Victory,” alluding to the 1973 war.
 
While security forces have fought hard to keep the two groups of demonstrators from confronting each other, July 8 clashes between the military and Muslim Brotherhood supporters left more than 50 dead.
 
Chaos leads to unease

During the day, while most people are busy at work or shopping and going about their daily lives, the sense of unease grows in the capital, where constant tension, bouts of violence and political uncertainty is taking its toll.
 
New York-based Human Rights Watch has been investigating reports of torture at Muslim Brotherhood protest sites, of sectarian killings of Coptic Christians, and of abuse of force by the military authorities.
 
Shop managers say they are tired of the violence. Tour operators, camel-ride owners, souvenir sellers and restaurant owners say business has dropped off dramatically in the past year, and the new round of protests is keeping badly needed tourist money away.
 
According to political scientist Hassan Nafaa of Cairo University, the country is trapped in an ideological and political deadlock, and so far neither side has a clear strategy on how to end the polarization.
 
"If the Muslim Brothers choose a confrontation strategy, they are the losers — the big losers — because the army and the people are unified together against the Muslim Brothers right now," he says. "If the Brotherhood continues its policy of confrontation, they will lose, but the price might be very high."
 
Edward Yeranian contributed to this report.
 

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: m.allam from: India
July 19, 2013 1:45 PM
The episode of Egypt exposed the people and the countries wished to not see the development of democracy in the Islamic world. As a result the people of Islamic countries would be more lenient towards anti democratic government. The image of Europe and America distorted and lost the moral right by not opposing the coup in Egypt. Now the more people realized the inner hands of Israel in the internal affairs of the Islamic world.And giving new thinking and new image about them. That is not good for the future peace of the world.

In Response

by: Shahin Huq
July 21, 2013 10:57 PM
The post-coup illegal government has committed serious violations of human rights. For example: 1. It incarcerated the democratically elected President Morsi; 2. It killed dozens of unarmed pro-democracy protesters; 3. It violated pro-democracy female protesters and killed some of them; 4. It closed down pro-Islamic television channels.

Despite all these crimes, the western world seems to be quiet and is giving legitimacy to this illegal government. The west generally takes pride in three slogans: democracy, press freedom and women's rights. The so-called interim government violated all these. But the so-called free-speech fighters and advocates of democracy and of women's rights are silent about and complicit with these crimes. Their hatred to Islamic people seems to have overwhelmed their commitment to democracy and to human/women's rights.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 19, 2013 1:15 PM
Morsi was not freely elected. The Egyptians, especially the minorities, were intimidated into voting for the brotherhood that promised to improve on its earlier barbaric posture. It was a case of carrot in one hand and the whip in the other hand. It was those whose votes were stolen that started the protest. But when the promises failed to come, they took to the streets to demand for justice. Instead, more and more marginalization of the people was the order of the day. Now those who stole the vote are crying foul. Not to forget how they intimidate other groups to force them into islam while they would burn down any group that ever announced an islamist turning away from islam into other faiths.

No, Egypt got it all wrong at that juncture! And errors must be corrected, necessitating the second revolution. When here an extremist Muslim Brotherhood member is demanding justice, you wonder what their idea of justice is. But justice right now in Egypt means getting the revolution right by bringing the Egyptian state into the right perspective of democracy, not to set it back millenniums away from civil demands of present era. Muslim Brotherhood cannot have it their way this time around, not when the world is interestedly watching with open eyes. They can protest to the abyss below, but I advice that the anti-Morsi group stay out of trouble and shun further protests to avoid bloodshed since the ruling council is already aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is a wrong choice, by any standard, any day. anywhere, and everywhere..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid