American Killed as Violence Erupts During Protests in Egypt

 

Egyptian riotsSupporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi took to the streets on Friday in Alexandria Sidi Gaber neighborhood outside the local headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).  When supporters of President Morsi and anti-government supporters clashed, two people were killed, one an American and the other an Egyptian.

According to local health officials the American citizen was stabbed to death, while the Egyptian was gunned down.

Police reported that the American citizen was taking pictures of the clash that broke out between the pro and anti-government supporters when he was attacked. He is not believed to be a journalist.

Thousands of supporters of President Morsi gathered in Cairo as political violence continued to worsen across the country.  Unlike the outbreaks of violence in other parts of Egypt, Cairo’s protestors have remained peaceful.  In Cairo armored men with batons and metal rods checked identification and frisked attendees.

The unease in the region is the result of a nationwide anti-government protest planned for Sunday, which marks the end of Morsi’s first year of a four-year-term.

A senior scholar from Al-Azhar, Egypt’s highest Sunni religious authority, warned of worsening violence which he believes is due to “criminal gangs.”

The anti-government protestors hope that millions of Egyptian citizens will unite in the streets to call for the resignation of Morsi, who they hope will yield and surrender power to a transitional government.

The rally on Friday was a tactical move on the part of the supporters of President Morsi to demonstrate he still retains the majority of supporters.

“Don’t believe that everyone is against the president,” said Naeem Ghanem, carrying banners accusing the opposition of working with the United States and Israel. “Ninety percent of the people are with Morsi.”

The rally had a recurring theme “legitimacy is a red line,” contending that the protestors will have to use the democratic election process to remove the president, which is through the ballot box at the end of his four-year term.

“I’m here to defend my voice. If you want Morsi to leave, that’s fine, but after four years,” said Taher Mohamed, at a booth selling pro-Morsi paraphernalia.

The protestors also rallied against a popular media figure, Bassem Youssef, accusing him of taking money from Western Countries and mocking President Morsi.

Youssef was questioned in March and released on bail and the channel his show airs on was threatened with suspension of their license because of purported insults leveled at President Morsi.

Pro-Morsi protestors also ridiculed a grassroots campaign which claim to have 18 million signatures in support of their call for the resignation of President Morsi.  The 18 million signatures, if the number is correct, is well above the 13 million votes that elected him into office.

The anti-government campaign called “Tamarod” or “rebellion” gathered hundreds of supporters in Tahrir Square on Friday.  The waved red cards demanding Morsi’s removal.

Morsi’s supporters rejected the campaign as fraud and believe it is a tactic of former president Hosni Mubarak’s regime to overthrow the government and regain power. They have introduced a campaign opposing the anti-government campaigners “Tagarod” or “emptiness” and distributed signature forms at the rally Friday.

According to Diaa Agha, a senior member of the FJP’s office in Cairo, the opposition can oppose Morsi with the normal democratic process.  “But unfortunately they refused all kinds of democracy.  They want to overthrow legitimacy by doing illegal acts like the Tamarod campaign.”

“We didn’t overthrow Mubarak because he was corrupt. We did it because there was no democracy,” said Ismail Farid, a retired air force colonel.

The identity of the American killed during the protest on Friday has not been released.

By: Veverly Edwards

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