Since the revolt that led to Mohammed Morsi’s removal by the Egyptian Army, his supporters have defied the interim government. Muslim Brotherhood leaders continue to protest over the manner in which the removal took place and have not embraced the transition process of the interim government. Supporters have taken to the streets in a demonstration of social unrest in pockets of Cairo.
The month long unrest has been raging from the neighborhoods of eastern Cairo. Tent cities have been erected in Rabaa al-Adawiya where supporters stage speaking events for demonstrations against the transition government. “We have two choices,” said Ayman Youssef, a physics teacher, as he sheltered under the canvas of his tent. “Victory or death, there are no other options.”
More than 72 civilians have been gunned down by security services. Egypt’s Prime Minister has since been granted the authority to bestow upon the military extensive powers of arrest. This has fueled speculation that an imminent anti-Islamist crackdown is on the horizon. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s top commander, said he would utilize a popular mandate to crackdown on all forms of terrorism.
Mohammed Morsi supporters are resolute in their defiance of the interim government and many feel not even a bullet to the head can persuade them to leave the streets. One man said during a demonstration, “If they think that this will stop me, then they are dreaming.” The powers behind the unrest are resolved to fight against what they perceive to be a military dictatorship.
After Saturday’s massacre of demonstration supporters the streets remained barricaded with brick paving stones. Mohamed Anwar Khalaq, 45-years-old, told interviewers about his brother having been killed in the July 8 attack by the military. More than 50 supporters of Morsi were gunned down outside the headquarters of the Republican guard.
Despite the numerous threats of impending death by the forces of the interim government Kalaq remained defiant. “They fire their guns because they are paid to do so, but we are here for the sake of our religion,” he said. “I hope for the same fate as my brother.” The July 8th massacre sparked outrage among the tent city dwelling protesters, rallying them for increased street level demonstrations.
Abdul Rahman Mohamed, 19-years-old of Alexandria, was protesting when he was caught in the gunfire of Saturday’s shooting. He was struck in the head by a bullet that almost took out an eye; he was lucky to retain sight in that eye. He insisted that it was god’s will for him to continue with his efforts to protest against the government.
Mohammed Morsi supporters are staunch in their defiance of the interim government. Their demand is they return Morsi to power, and their continual defiance has been noted in the international arena. The turmoil is the result of a battle to wrestle with the concept of democratic legitimacy and the powers behind the uprising are in a campaign for democratic empowerment. The struggle will continue until negotiations can be reached to quell the violence in the nation.
By Thomas Barr