News / Middle East

Egypt's Bruised Brotherhood Fails to Show Street Power

A man stands near supporters of Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi as they shout slogans against the military and the interior ministry during a protest in front of Al Tawheed mosque in Cairo, Aug. 23, 2013.
A man stands near supporters of Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi as they shout slogans against the military and the interior ministry during a protest in front of Al Tawheed mosque in Cairo, Aug. 23, 2013.
Reuters
Mass protests called by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood mostly failed to materialize on Friday as the movement reeled from a bloody army crackdown on followers of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
 
Troops and police had taken relatively low-key security measures before the “Friday of Martyrs” processions that were to have begun from 28 mosques in the capital after weekly prayers.
 
But midday prayers were canceled at some mosques and there were few signs of major demonstrations unfolding in Cairo.
 
“We are not afraid; it's victory or death,” said Mohamed Abdel Azim, a retired oil engineer who was among about 100 people marching slowly from a mosque near Cairo University.
 
“They intend to strike at Muslims,” the gray-bearded Azim said. “We'd rather die in dignity than live in oppression. We'll keep coming out until there's no one left.”
 
  • Demonstrators hold up four fingers, a symbol of their solidarity with the the destroyed sit-in protest known as Rabaa, which means four or fourth in Arabic, Cairo, August 23, 2013. (H. Elrasam for VOA)
  • Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans against the military and the interior ministry as they gesture "Rabaa," Cairo, August 23, 2013.
  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi hold posters showing victims of a military crackdown on their protest camp during a march in Cairo, August 23, 2013.
  • Egyptian army soldiers in armored vehicles block Tahrir Square in Cairo, August 23, 2013.
  • Protesters shout slogans against former president Hosni Mubarak's release from prison, in front of the courthouse and the Attorney General's office in downtown Cairo, August 23, 2013.
  • Egyptian medics escort former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak into an ambulance after he was flown by a helicopter to the Maadi Military Hospital from Torah prison, Cairo, August 22, 2013.
  • Supporters of deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak gesture as the helicopter carrying him leaves Tora prison, Cairo, August 22, 2013.
  • A ripped poster of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi lies on the ground in the courtyard of the Rabaah Al-Adawiya mosque in Nasr city, Cairo, August 21, 2013.
  • An Egyptian man pushes a wheelbarrow with debris from inside the Rabaah Al-Adawiya mosque in Nasr city, Cairo, August 21, 2013.

Some marchers carried posters of Morsi, who was toppled by army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on July 3 after huge demonstrations against his rule. “No to the coup,” they chanted.
 
Egypt has endured the bloodiest civil unrest in its modern history since Aug. 14 when police destroyed protest camps set up by Morsi's supporters in Cairo to demand his reinstatement.
 
The violence has alarmed Egypt's Western allies, but U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledged that even a decision to cut off U.S. aid to Cairo might not influence its military rulers.
 
Some U.S. lawmakers have called for a halt to the $1.5 billion a year in mostly military assistance to Egypt.
 
“The aid itself may not reverse what the interim government does,” Obama said in an interview with CNN. “But I think what most Americans would say is that we have to be very careful about being seen as aiding and abetting actions that we think run contrary to our values and our ideals.”
 
He said the United States was re-evaluating its ties with Egypt. “There's no doubt that we can't return to business as usual, given what's happened,” he said.
 
The United States has nurtured an alliance with Egypt since it signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Military cooperation includes privileged U.S. access to the Suez Canal.
 
The Brotherhood, hounded by Egypt's new army-backed rulers, had called for demonstrations across the country against the crackdown, testing the resilience of its battered support base.
 
A few dozen Islamists, many of them women, marched in an old Cairo district. Some carried Egyptian flags or rolled-up Morsi posters. Others held umbrellas to ward off the afternoon sun.
 
Asked if she was afraid, a fully veiled nursery teacher with four children, who gave her name only as Nasra, said: “God will make us victorious even if many of us are hurt and even if it takes a long time. God willing, God will bring down Sisi.”
 
Low-key approach
 
Security forces kept a watchful eye, but did not flood the streets, even near Cairo's central Fateh mosque where gun battles killed scores of people last Friday and Saturday.
 
The mosque's metal gates and big front door were locked and chained. Prayers were canceled. Two armored vehicles were parked down the street, where people shopped at a busy market.
 
Only one riot police truck stood by near Rabaa al-Adawiya square in northeastern Cairo, home to the Brotherhood's biggest protest vigil until police and troops stormed in, killing hundreds of people, bulldozing barricades and burning tents.
 
The mosque there was closed for repairs. Workmen in blue overalls stood on scaffolding as they covered its charred walls with white paint. Children scavenged through piles of garbage.
 
Troops used barbed wire to block a main road to Nahda Square, the site of the smaller of the two Brotherhood sit-ins.
 
The authorities declared a month-long state of emergency last week and they enforce a nightly curfew. The state news agency said the armed forces had strengthened their presence around the presidential palace and the defense ministry.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood, which won five successive votes held in Egypt after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, has been jolted by a week of bloodshed and the arrest of many of its leaders in what the authorities call a battle with terrorism.
 
In a symbolic victory for the army-dominated old order, Hosni Mubarak, the ex-military former president who ruled Egypt with an iron fist for 30 years before an uprising toppled him in 2011, was freed from jail on Thursday. His successor Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, remains behind bars.
 
The Brotherhood's “General Guide” Mohamed Badie, who was arrested on Tuesday, is due to go on trial on Sunday along with two other senior figures, Khairat al-Shater and Saad al-Katatni, on charges that include incitement to violence.
 
Remain steadfast

At least 900 people, including about 100 soldiers and police, have been killed in violence across Egypt since Aug. 14, officials said. Brotherhood supporters say the toll is higher.
 
The Brotherhood, founded in 1928, could once mobilize vast crowds, drawing on the same organizational strength it wielded at the ballot box, but its protests have dwindled this week in the face of the security crackdown.
 
Graffiti on a mosque wall in a run-down Cairo neighborhood illustrated the deep divisions that have emerged since Sisi ousted Morsi. The spray-painted message “Yes to Sisi” had been crossed out and painted over with the word “traitor.”
 
Slogans elsewhere read “Morsi is a spy” and “Morsi out”. Someone had also written “Freedom, Justice, Brotherhood”.
 
The Brotherhood survived for generations as an underground movement before emerging as Egypt's best-drilled political force after Mubarak fell. But its popularity waned during Morsi's year in office when critics accused it of accumulating power, pushing a partisan Islamist agenda and mismanaging the economy.
 
The Brotherhood, which Egypt's new army-backed rulers have threatened to dissolve, says Morsi's government was deliberately undermined by unreconstructed Mubarak-era institutions.
 
Egyptian medics and police escort former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak into an ambulance after after he was flown by a helicopter to the Maadi Military Hospital from Torah prison, Cairo, August 22, 2013.Egyptian medics and police escort former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak into an ambulance after after he was flown by a helicopter to the Maadi Military Hospital from Torah prison, Cairo, August 22, 2013.
x
Egyptian medics and police escort former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak into an ambulance after after he was flown by a helicopter to the Maadi Military Hospital from Torah prison, Cairo, August 22, 2013.
Egyptian medics and police escort former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak into an ambulance after after he was flown by a helicopter to the Maadi Military Hospital from Torah prison, Cairo, August 22, 2013.
Mubarak, 85, still faces retrial on charges of complicity in the killings of protesters, but he left jail on Thursday for the first time since April 2011 and was flown by helicopter to a plush military hospital in the southern Cairo suburb of Maadi.
 
The authorities have used the state of emergency to keep him under house arrest, apparently to minimize the risk of popular anger if he had been given unfettered freedom. Local newspapers on Friday focused on the latest arrest of Brotherhood leaders, giving scant coverage to the former strongman's exit from jail.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 23, 2013 2:34 PM
It is important to state that the Muslim Brotherhood used to conscript people into its ranks. Being well organized is out of the question. What gave it marginal popularity was the people's desire to breathe a new life from the emergency rule of 30yrs running. They just wanted a change, but you bet they got less than their bargain... Or should I say more? The Muslim Brotherhood gave them the bitter side of democracy, an acid taste in the mouth that they wished to remain under military rule instead of Muslim brotherhood's brand of democracy. The interim administration in Egypt should do everything within its powers to remove the stranglehold of the brotherhood on the Egyptians. Surely they have learned their lesson, but they need help to avoid making the mistake of being forced to choose the MB in future elections, which might look fare on the surface before the due date, people's votes were confiscated in a Hollywood action movie style - want to stay alive? vote for the JFP otherwise known as MB.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More