News / Middle East

    Pro-Morsi Protest Village Vows to Stay in Cairo

    Men spray the hot crowds with cold water from plastic water packs and bottles.  Currently fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, no one in this crowd takes a drink. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    Men spray the hot crowds with cold water from plastic water packs and bottles. Currently fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, no one in this crowd takes a drink. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    Heather Murdock
    As Egyptians gear up for rallies on Friday, supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi say Army Chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's call to the streets is a direct threat to their safety.  As they prepare for counter-rallies, thousands of Morsi supporters are hunkering down in what has grown into a self-contained protest village.
     
    It’s early afternoon, but pro-Morsi, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, rallies here in Nasr City are already growing fast. Thousands of people chant in support of the former president, who remains in custody.
     
    Fifteen-year-old Abdulrahman Usama has been staying in this tent for nearly a month and says he won't go back to school until the former president is reinstated. (Heather Murdock for VOA)Fifteen-year-old Abdulrahman Usama has been staying in this tent for nearly a month and says he won't go back to school until the former president is reinstated. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    x
    Fifteen-year-old Abdulrahman Usama has been staying in this tent for nearly a month and says he won't go back to school until the former president is reinstated. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    Fifteen-year-old Abdulrahman Usama has been staying in this tent for nearly a month and says he won't go back to school until the former president is reinstated. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    But behind the stage, bull horns and men spraying water on the hot crowds to cool them off, is another kind of demonstration.

    The people who live in the tent village, built on the streets in a major metropolitan area, appear to number in the thousands.

    Volunteer security guards among the protesters cordon off the tents and the staging area, searching anyone who wants to enter.
     
    Small businesses are set up on tarps and folding tables on the streets. You can buy purses, shoes, Morsi T-shirts and locally-made arts and crafts. 
     
    Protesters say when they are not marching or chanting, most of their ranks are not doing business but resting and reading the Quran on mats under the tents.  It’s at least 35 degrees Celsius and during the Ramadan fast they can’t even drink water before sundown.
     
    Fifteen-year-old Abdulrahman Usama says he has been living in a tent on the street with his parents and five brothers and sisters since June 28, when protesters both for and against Morsi gathered en masse.  When Ramadan is over, he says, he won’t go back to school unless the president, the constitution and the parliament are reinstated.
     
    Emad Zaghlul Mustafa used to be a music teacher.  Now he fills glass vials with colored sand, creating pictures of landscapes to sell on the streets.
     
    Some people are operating businesses like prickly-pears for sale in crates, but pro-Morsi protesters say most of the people living in this tent village spend the hot days resting, reading Koran, and preparing for rallies. (Heather Murdock for VOA)Some people are operating businesses like prickly-pears for sale in crates, but pro-Morsi protesters say most of the people living in this tent village spend the hot days resting, reading Koran, and preparing for rallies. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    x
    Some people are operating businesses like prickly-pears for sale in crates, but pro-Morsi protesters say most of the people living in this tent village spend the hot days resting, reading Koran, and preparing for rallies. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    Some people are operating businesses like prickly-pears for sale in crates, but pro-Morsi protesters say most of the people living in this tent village spend the hot days resting, reading Koran, and preparing for rallies. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    Like many groups of now-splintered activists in Egypt, Mustafa says his group is responsible for the February 2011 ouster of Hosni Mubarak, referred to here with reverence as “The Revolution.”  The revolution, he says, was about economic injustice.
     
    He says the current protests are a continuation of what began in 2011 and they will continue indefinitely.  Other pro-Morsi protesters, however, say they fear that their makeshift community is in danger in the coming days, after the army chief called on the people to rally this Friday to give him the “mandate to confront possible violence and terrorism."
     
    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
    As Usama explains that he wants to grow up to be a sheikh, Ahmad Tahan breaks into the crowd with urgency.

    Tahan says when the army chief says he wants to confront violence, he means he wants to attack people who support the Muslim Brotherhood party, which is on the side of reinstating Morsi’s democratically elected government.
     
    “We’re here asking for our vote.  Where are our votes?  Our votes are in the rubbish.  Do you believe this?  I cannot believe that the army is here today asking for people to start the civil war," he said.
     
    Egyptians have been protesting on the streets consistently since the revolution began, with increasing violence in recent weeks.  More than 100 people have been killed in clashes since Morsi was removed on July 3 and locals say the army chief’s call to action can only make things worse.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    July 25, 2013 12:34 PM
    The call for a massive demonstration is the most desirable thing to do now. Lazy people have refused to go home, and the peaceful army general wants to show them how to go home. If the Egyptians come out en mass to support the military, the military will receive the mandate to clear the streets and restore peace in the land. The clashing of the pro- and anti-Morsi groups will be the height of the revolution. The meeting of the two sides will form the nucleus of the real REVOLUTION. So let the game start. We are only a few hours to Friday, and the die is cast. Egypt must be returned to its peaceful state, but first the Muslim Brotherhood must be removed from interfering with the due processes in politics. The so-called make-shift guards are the military wing of the brotherhood who are actually taking count of who comes and who does not - which the basis on which the previous botched election was won by the brotherhood. What I am revealing here is that the brotherhood has it as a rule to coerce people to support the brotherhood, identify with them, do their bidding, and feign massive brotherhood - which is sham.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.