Supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi were killed in protests on Friday and over the weekend after other pro-Morsi protesters stabbed an anti-Muslim Brotherhood spokesman in a brutal attack. These latest incidents of violence make the possibility of a political reconciliation between the country’s political and religious factions even more remote.
Amid a massive protest, government security forces clashed with Muslim Brotherhood members who support the former president. At least 50 deaths are now being reported in total from separate incidents, as well as many more protesters injured. During the same day of violence on Friday, supporters of Morsi in Cairo attacked Khaled Dawoud, a former public spokesman for the National Salvation Front, a group opposed to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Dawoud was pulled from his car, beaten, and then stabbed with a knife in the chest and hands.
Via Twitter, Mohamed ElBaradei, formerly both the Vice-President of Egypt and leader of the Constitution Party, condemned the attack, saying “The barbaric assault on Khaled Dawoud … reflects the size of the tragedy we’re living.”
The Morsi supporters from the Muslim Brotherhood clashed with Egyptian government security forces early on Friday, as part of of a Cairo protest that attempted to reach key locations such as Tahrir Square and the presidential palace, but never made it.
Local residents also mobilized to stop the loyalists’ march. Reports on casualties differ, and the violent clashes took place in different areas, first in the central Cairo neighborhood of Manial, then in Ibn Sandr Square in the western suburb of Zeitoun.
The earlier confrontation escalated after security forces used teargas to disperse the Muslim Brotherhood march to Tahrir Square, forcing the Morsi suppporters to withdraw into Manial.
This growing violence has marked several the days of protests across Egypt, as crowds loyal to the ousted president persist in disobeying a security crackdown against Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Before the attack in which some of Mohamed Morsi’s supporters were killed, the protesters were chanting slogans condemning both local police forces and Egypt’s military.
Arguably the most powerful political force in Egypt, the military previously withdrew support from the country’s former ruler, Hosni Mubarak, who held power for twenty years, and their shift in loyalties proved to be the nail in the coffin for the previous Egyptian regime. More recently, after Mubarak’s fall and disputed elections, Morsi became president, but in July he was directly overthrown by the military following mass protests triggered by Morsi granting himself unlimited powers and issuing an Islamist constitution.
Three days after Morsi’s downfall, 12 of his supporters were killed in similar clashes, also in the Manial neighborhood, and large-scale protests accompanied by violence have continued in the months since.
The surge in protests seem to be a response to rallies called for Friday by the military’s leader, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in which millions marched in support of tougher measures against what is being called the “terrorism” of the Muslim Brotherhood. The pro-Morsi protestors were heard chanting against el-Sissi in particular. One Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammed el-Beltagy, released a statement on his Facebook that laid blame for the protests spoke at the general’s feat.
Reports indicate Dawoud is in stable condition after the attack against him. Ironically, despite being an ardent opponent of Morsi and the Brotherhood, Dawoud recently resigned his position in protest over the harshness of security forces in dispersing protest camps formed by pro-Morsi forces. Those dispersals are also reported to have resulted in casualties.
As for Morsi himself, he is not been allowed to make any public statements since military forces overthrew and took him into custody. Also on Friday, new allegations were announced against the former president, including conspiring with the terrorist group Hamas as well as charges of murder. It is unclear if these new charges contributed to the attacks and protests in Egypt that led to Mohamed Morsi’s supporters being killed.
Written By: Jeremy Forbing