News / Middle East

Morsi Supporters, Military Backers Scuffle in Cairo

Police detain a supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during clashes in central Cairo Aug. 13, 2013.
Police detain a supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during clashes in central Cairo Aug. 13, 2013.
Reuters
Supporters and opponents of ousted president Mohamed Morsi battled in the streets of downtown Cairo on Tuesday, showing  Egypt remained dangerously split six weeks after the army overthrew him in response to mass unrest against his rule.
 
As demonstrators hurled rocks at each other and police fired volleys of tear gas, an initiative by Al-Azhar, a top religious authority, to resolve the crisis appeared to inch forward.
 
The Nour Party, the second biggest Islamist group, forecast that Al-Azhar-backed talks in pursuit of a solution would happen very soon while Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood signaled it was ready to take part as long as they were on the right terms.
 
Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo's al-Nahda Square and around Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque are the immediate focus of the crisis. Morsi backers stood firm behind barricades on Tuesday as Egypt's interim leaders debated how to end their sit-in.
 
No police crackdown appeared imminent despite frequent warnings from the army-installed government that the protesters should pack up and leave peacefully.

But clashes broke out in central Cairo when a few thousand Morsi supporters marched to the Interior Ministry.
 
Pro-army residents and shopworkers taunted them, calling them terrorists and saying they were not welcome. They then threw stones at the marchers, getting showered back in return.
 
Some hurled bottles at the Morsi supporters from balconies. Police then fired tear gas at the demonstrators. Women and children marchers fled the scene in panic. The clashes spread to several streets and brought Cairo traffic to a standstill.
 
“There's no going forward with negotiations, the only way is back. Morsi must be reinstated,” said Karim Ahmed, a student in a blue hard-hat who waved a picture of Morsi as he flung rocks at a ministry building.


  • A supporter of ousted President Mohamed Morsi throws a tear gas canister back towards the police during clashes in central Cairo, August 13, 2013.
  • A local resident throws stones towards supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi during clashes in central Cairo, August 13, 2013.
  • A security volunteer checks a supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi as he enters Nahda Square, Cairo, August 12, 2013.
  • An army soldier stands alert over an armored vehicle near Nahda Square, where supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi have installed their camp, Cairo, August 12, 2013.
  • A supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi listens to a speech at the main stage in the sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque, Cairo, August 12, 2013.
  • A street football match at the Rabaa al Adaweya encampment, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA
  • Cooling off -- a young boy hoses down the crowds in the August heat, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • A generator that could provide backup if the government cuts power to the area, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • A tea vendor at Rabaa el Adaweya encampment, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Tending to the paving stones marking where Morsi supporters died in clashes last month, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • A young girl heads back to her tent at the protest encampment, Cairo, August 12, 2013. (E. Arrott/VOA)

Morsi’s failures

Morsi took office in June 2012 as Egypt's first freely elected leader following the overthrow of long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising the previous year.
 
But he failed to get to grips with a deep economic malaise and worried many Egyptians with his apparent efforts to tighten Islamist rule of the most populous Arab nation despite its social diversity.
 
The army removed him amid huge demonstrations against his rule. Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders are now in detention.
 
Foreign mediators say the Brotherhood must accept that Morsi will not be restored. At the same time, the authorities must bring the Brotherhood back into the political process, they say.
 
Since Morsi was forced out, the army has installed a new administration led by Adli Mansour, a judge. In a shakeup with echoes of the past, he swore in at least 18 new provincial governors on Tuesday, half of them retired generals.
 
“It is Mubarak's days,” prominent blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah wrote on his Twitter feed. “Down down with every Mubarak. Sissi is Mubarak,” he added, referring to General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, the army chief who deposed Morsi.
 
Yasser el-Shimy, Egypt analyst with the International Crisis Group, said it was a partial return to the status quo ante.
 
“This move would likely play into Islamist accusations that the new regime is an attempt at reviving the old one,” el-Shimy said.
 
Peace Initiative
 
The Brotherhood suggested on Tuesday it would be willing to join a meeting called by Al-Azhar, whose initiative is the only known effort to end the crisis peacefully following the collapse of international mediation last week.
 
“If they stick to the rules we're asking for, yes,” Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said, adding that talks must be based on the “restoration of constitutional legitimacy.”
 
But the Brotherhood would oppose proposals made by Al-Azhar's Grand Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb because he had supported the army's overthrow of Morsi, Haddad said. He said there had been contacts with other Al-Azhar officials.
 
Nour leader Younes Makhyoun said his party had been invited to the Al-Azhar talks and he expected the meeting to take place “very soon.”
 
“Currently the noble al-Azhar is trying to bring together for discussions those who have drawn up initiatives to agree, for example, on one initiative and vision, which we will use to pressure all the parties, so they accept it,” he told Reuters.
 
The effort, however, was being complicated by the friction between the Brotherhood and al-Azhar, he said.

Tackling the protest camps

The government has its own plan for elections beginning with a parliamentary vote in about five months. But for now it is wrestling with the difficult issue of how to tackle the protest camps.
 
Some officials wish to avoid a bloody showdown, which would damage the government's efforts to present itself as legitimate, while hardliners in the army and security forces fear they are losing face to the Brotherhood and want to move in.
 
More than 300 people have already died in political violence since Morsi's overthrow on July 3, including dozens of his supporters killed by security forces in two separate incidents.
 
The state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported that after a National Security Council meeting on Monday night, security forces were likely to cordon off the camps rather than take a more forceful approach that could lead to bloodshed.
 
A senior security source told al-Ahram that security had been bolstered around the camps to prevent weapons from getting in.
 
Senior Brotherhood politician Farid Ismail said he did not expect the Interior Ministry to break up the encampments by force because of the likely casualty toll.
 
“It would be a big crime in addition to the crimes already committed, because it will result in a great cost in terms of massacres and dead,” he said. “There are very large numbers, complete families, men, wives, children.”
 
Also on Tuesday, a court set September 7 as the start of another case brought against Morsi's allies, including prominent politician Mohamed el-Beltagi, on charges of kidnapping and torturing two members of the security forces.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs