News / Middle East

Military's Dispersal of Egypt Protests Complicates Transition Process

Egyptian security forces clear a sit-in camp set up by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Nasr City district, Cairo, Aug. 14, 2013.
Egyptian security forces clear a sit-in camp set up by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Nasr City district, Cairo, Aug. 14, 2013.
VOA News
The Egyptian military's dispersal of two Islamist-led protests supporting ousted President Mohamed Morsi has dramatically escalated the country's political crisis.

Security forces moved in early Wednesday to forcibly dispel thousands of protesters from the two sit-ins in Cairo, and both sides reported deaths and injuries in the fighting that ensued.

The military vowed weeks ago to clear the protests outside the Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque and Nahda square. It had said the sit-ins were not peaceful and represented a threat to stability.

But soon after security forces moved to clear the sit-ins, violence erupted elsewhere. Within hours, there were reports of clashes across the country, including attacks on at least three churches in central Egypt.

There were also attempts to establish new sit-ins elsewhere in Cairo. "Of course we expect other sit-ins to be set up after this is dispersed," said anti-coup alliance activist Layla Moustafa, whose group called for street protests in solidarity with those killed.

"We expect this to inflame the situation even more and to increase the protests in all states in Egypt because Rabaa al-Adawiya Square is not just a sit-in, it is a symbol for the revolution and the uprising against the coup regime," she said.

The mainly Islamist protesters had camped out since July 3, when the military removed Morsi following weeks of protests against him. The pro-Morsi protesters had refused to leave the camp sites until the elected president was restored to power.

Egypt's interim government repeatedly called on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood to join the transition government and participate in a process for new elections. But the group refused, saying to do so would be to legitimize a military coup against Egypt's first democratically elected leader.

Some analysts said the dispersal meant the Muslim Brotherhood may now lose leverage in dealing with the interim government. But there is also a chance it could be used to the group's advantage.

"They lose a bargaining chip, of course, but they have videos [of the crackdown] and they are already talking about women and children dying," said Adel Abdel-Ghafar, a visiting fellow at the American University in Cairo. "They'll try to maintain the moral high ground."

Ghafar said the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood would now be able to further claim its followers were being martyred, much like the previous generation of Islamist activists who were jailed by the government in past decades.

But he said the hardliners within Egypt's government have also won a victory over more moderate voices, such as reformist leader Mohammad ElBaradei, who were calling for dialogue rather than force to deal with the protests.

Now, Ghafar said, there was little chance of a short-term solution. And he said there was a possibility the situation could get worse.

"I think [the Muslim Brothers] will escalate, and I think the state will respond even more violently," he said. "Expect a low-level insurgency type thing to happen in Egypt for the next couple of years."

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid