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

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid