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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid