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

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora