News / Middle East

Egyptians Rally in Huge Numbers as Violence Escalates

Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi run for cover from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes at Nasr City, where protesters have installed their camp and hold their daily rally, in Cairo, Egypt, July 26, 2013.
Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi run for cover from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes at Nasr City, where protesters have installed their camp and hold their daily rally, in Cairo, Egypt, July 26, 2013.
VOA News
Violent clashes have broken out in Cairo and Alexandria, where tens of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets Friday in dueling rallies — one called by the military to show support for overturning the elected civilian government, the other called by the Muslim Brotherhood to reinforce its demand for the reinstatement of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
 
In Alexandria, supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohamed Morsi pelted each other with rocks. Video showed Muslim Brotherhood supporters firing bird shot at pro-government demonstrators who support the military and its interim government.  Medical sources and state-run media said five people were killed and many others were injured.
 
In Cairo, Morsi supporters clashed in Tahrir Square with some of the thousands of people who answered Army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's call for "all honorable Egyptians" to take to the streets to give him a mandate to fight "violence and terrorism."
 
As Karim Hassan, one man in the pro-government throng, said, "We are here today in order to support the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces ... and give him a green card [a go-ahead] to root out terrorism from Egypt. We can't wait any longer; the country is burning."
 
Morsi still detained

Key Dates in Egypt

  • February 11, 2011 - President Hosni Mubarak resigns after weeks of massive protests and clashes
  • January 21, 2012 - The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party wins almost half of Egypt's parliamentary seats
  • June 24, 2012 - Mohamed Morsi becomes Egypt's first freely elected president
  • November 22, 2012 - Morsi grants himself sweeping powers, sparking protests
  • July 3, 2013 - The army removes Morsi from power and suspends the constitution
The demonstrations got under way as an Egyptian judge ordered Morsi to remain in custody for at least 15 more days. He has been held by the military in a secret location since July 3, when the army removed him from power.
 
The official MENA news agency said authorities are investigating charges that Morsi conspired with the Hamas group to help himself and dozens of other Islamist leaders escape from prison during the 2011 uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood has said local residents helped free the prisoners, and a spokesman said Friday that the latest word from the government was proof that Egypt is returning to the tight controls on the public that marked the Mubarak era.
 
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also rejected the accusations and challenged Egyptian authorities to provide evidence that Hamas intervened in Egypt's internal affairs.
 
As they have on a daily basis, Morsi supporters massed Friday outside the Rabia el-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City, a Brotherhood stronghold, calling for Morsi's reinstatement.
 
Morsi's presidency and his subsequent ouster have bitterly divided Egyptians who see this as a pivotal moment for the country's future course. Many Islamists view General Sissi's call for mass popular support as a prelude to a violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Story continues below photo gallery
  • Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi attend Friday prayer at Nasr City, where protesters have installed their camp and hold daily rallies in Cairo, July 26, 2013.
  • Opponents of Mohamed Morsi during a protest at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, July 26, 2013.
  • An Egyptian military helicopter near the Cairo tower, Friday, July 26, 2013.
  • A man flashes victory signs at a military helicopter near the presidential palace in Cairo, July 26, 2013.
  • Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi atop a bridge during a rally around Rabaa Adawiya Square, Cairo July 26, 2013.
  • Supporters of Morsi during a demonstration outside the Egyptian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 26, 2013.
  • A member of the Muslim Brotherhood at a rally around Rabaa Adawiya square, Cairo, July 26, 2013.
  • A military helicopter among clouds of smoke in Cairo, July 26, 2013.
  • In this image taken from Egypt State TV, Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech in Cairo, July 24, 2013.
  • Sand barriers set up by protesters near Cairo University in Giza, Egypt, July 23, 2013.
  • Firefighters extinguish a scooter that was set on fire during clashes between opponents and supporters of ousted President Morsi in Cairo, July 22, 2013.
  • Firefighters extinguish a scooter that was set on fire during clashes between opponents and supporters of ousted President Morsi in Cairo, July 22, 2013.
 
 
International concerns

Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami of the Hoover Institution said the phenomenon of rival protests has done nothing to resolve Egypt's underlying political conflict, and has merely authorized Defense Minister Sissi to assume the role of a traditional Arab military ruler.
 
“Pity Egypt when political life has to be adjudicated in the streets, or more precisely in the squares — my square against your square, the size of my crowd against the size of your crowd," Ajami said. "What is truly unique is we witnessed a man in authority, a uniformed man who summons the people to the streets and stokes the very protests that usually would unsettle republics."
 
Poverty and other conditions that produced the "Arab Spring" rebellions in early 2011 still exist, Ajami said, and the Islamist movements that nourished rebellions will continue, even as the old guard tries to contain the discontent and repair Egypt.
 
World leaders are expressing increasing concern about the rising violence, polarization of Egyptian society and the army's crackdown on Brotherhood leaders. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all sides this week to exercise restraint, saying he supports the rights of all Egyptians to hold peaceful protests, and called on the Egyptian military to end "arbitrary arrests" and other forms of harassment.
 
The U.S. has also expressed its concern about Sissi's calls for mass protests, and the Obama administration said it is delaying the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt's military. However, the White House also has refused to declare that the overthrow of the Cairo government was a coup — a designation that would require suspension of U.S. military and economic aid to Egypt.
 
The Egyptian military says it was obligated to remove Morsi, Egypt's first elected president, in the midst of enormous, nationwide protests against his rule.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bean Cube
July 27, 2013 9:28 PM
Nobody (not economic dictators, religious dictators, military dictators, Israeli Zionists or CIA of America) should be allowed to hijack Egyptians' democratic evolution and modernization of the region.

by: Nadeem Ahmad from: Berlin, Germany
July 27, 2013 4:09 PM
Muslim Brotherhood, lost more than 100 lives in single day, they are without guns, empty handed, what a pity, they are being projected as terrorists in western and US media, while people with tanks and guns are building new form of democracy over dead bodies through army.

by: Cb1 from: USA
July 27, 2013 8:50 AM
Divide and conquer. Who is feeding this conflict and who stands to gain from it?

by: james from: suisse
July 27, 2013 1:36 AM
Please tell the truth. Egyptian soldiers killed more than 80 people who were in a peacful demonstration in Cairo.

by: Sani Aliyu Hunkuyi(Mr.) from: Nigeria
July 26, 2013 7:31 PM
I agree with Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri that the Military Government of Egypt is simply trying to perpetuate their stay on government since they were not able to show evidence that Hamas intervened in the escape of Islamist leaders from prison during the 2011 uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. The Military is merely trying to give a dog bad name to justify hanging it.
It is unfortunate that the Obama administration which is supposed to defend democracy is tactfully trying to justify the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt's military government. Poverty and other difficult conditions which the democratic government of Morsi found itself should had been bailed-out by oil-rich Middle-East governments of Saudi Arabia and other rich Islamic Countries. Unfortunately the so called Islamic countries would rather go and put their wealth in the banks of America and other western countries.
The U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his usual call on all sides to exercise restraint is only dancing to the tune of American powers that put him as the U.N. Secretary-General.
The Congress of the United States, the legislature of the United States of America, established under the Constitution of 1789 should declare the overthrow of Morsi's government as a coup if the White House is not prepared to do that, otherwise we would stop our respect for the USA as a true/model democratic country.
We look forward to USA's suspension of U.S. military and economic aid to Egypt under Military Rule but should insist in reinstatement of democratically elected government of Morsi. Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei should be ashamed of himself and is now viewed as a curse to his country(Egypt) being used to create tension that is leading to death of his fellow country men and women.
In Response

by: gerald spencer from: Chicago
July 27, 2013 11:00 AM
Rampant voter fraud put Morsi in power; it was witnessed by poll watchers from all over the world. How was it possible he had 24% more votes than there were voters in most areas? Stolen goods are never valued.

by: SavidHSwingler from: Cairo and California
July 26, 2013 4:36 PM
The Egyptian People's Majority Mandate has democratically removed Morsy in action clearly requiring creation of a new political word to describe it.

Egypt's majority intent declared in February proceeded democratically by petition “Votes” 3 months, ratified and given “Legitimacy” by 33 million “Street Votes” in a Majority People’s Presence June 30th; Morsy's impeachment-removal was effected on TV by decree, without guns.

Because Morsy systematically usurped powers until he controlled the government systems required to impeach him normally – forfeiting his elected ‘legitimacy’ - he had to be democratically impeached this new way.

This is the first time in world history we are seeing this kind of democratic IMPEACHMENT PROCESS. The facts are important: Morsy was elected by only 20% of the Registered Voters in Egypt – only 13 million votes of 55 million Registered Voters. Morsy was impeached by the 25-million-vote Petition Mandate Vote, and by the 33-million-vote Street Mandate Vote. In Democracy, 25 million votes and 33 million votes overwhelmingly out-votes 13 million.

The very small minority Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist supporters must accept the enacted Majority Mandate democratically, go home, go back to work and support the new Majority Government – the same way all Egypt gave Morsy his chance for 12 months. The Majority has now spoken; it is done; it is now time for all Egyptians to support EGYPT - EGYPT - and work to build the country. God Bless Egypt!
In Response

by: Jacob Gerzenshtein
July 27, 2013 8:58 AM
There is no need for a "new political word," since there is an existing phrase that perfectly describes the situation. It is Coup d'état. This "democratic impeachment" will give legitimacy only to the "very small" number of the Brotherhood supporters (who somehow managed to raise a majority in the last legitimate election).

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 26, 2013 3:15 PM
Since the Muslim Brotherhood will not listen to any voice of reason, no one will listen to their own call for anything. The people who directly or indirectly ousted Morsi are Egyptians. Their voice has to be heard too. The military saved Egypt from total collapse, now they want a mandate to clear the streets of those who know nothing and no one else but themselves alone. If Muslim Brotherhood wants progress in Egypt, it should join hands with the government of Egypt to correct the errors that were made in 2012. Egypt will not stagnate because a group will not let others' voices be heard. Instead Egypt will move forward without the group. Muslim Brotherhood proves to be anti-Egypt, otherwise how would they present Morsi whose jail term should still be running as their sole candidate for the 2012 polls? This they did to circumvent justice. Imagine that Hamas was the hand that removed him from jail illegally. Imagine that he was involved in jailbreak just like the one that freed al qaida fugitives in Iraq recently. Will his presidency legitimize the illegality because he is a Muslim Brotherhood operative? The world has grown beyond that, and Egypt of all civilizations shouldn't be the one to turn back the hand of the clock. I hope Gen. Sissi has been convinced that Egypt refuses to have Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. Today's massive rally should convince the Muslim Brotherhood to take their turn in the queue and not think Egypt cannot move forward without it. Egypt belongs to all Egyptians equally.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
July 26, 2013 6:45 PM
Muslim brotherhood know that .they no body like them .they believe that they have message from god to establish Islamic empire and they believe that their dream come true when morsi became a president. Muslim brotherhood go in the process to covert Egypt into Islamic state and set an example for other to follow. the Egyptian does not like Muslim brotherhood but it does not make any difference to them. They are going to stir problem until the army stand firm and control the situation by any means necessary
In Response

by: SavidHSwingler from: Cairo and California
July 26, 2013 4:40 PM
My Friend Godwin from Nigeria - well said, so true, and Thank You for saying in such clear words what people of all nations watching Egypt should be saying. The Majority Mandate has enacted this change and now, as you say, Morsy's supporters must democratically go home, go back to work and build Egypt for all Egyptians. God Bless You and God Bless Egypt.

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