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

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs