Tagged: morsi

Egypt jails girls over pro-Morsi demonstration

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A court in Egypt has sentenced 21 female supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi to 11 years in prison.

They were found guilty of multiple charges, including belonging to a terrorist group, obstructing traffic, sabotage and using force at a protest in the city of Alexandria last month.

Seven are under 18 years of age and will be sent to a juvenile prison.

Human rights groups criticised the sentences, with one campaigner describing the verdict as madness. The women and girls had taken part in an early morning demonstration in support of Mr Morsi. Relatives say it was the first protest by the group, called the 7am movement, and that it was peaceful.

One family told the BBC their 15-year-old daughter was only passing by on her way to school. A defence lawyer said the women expected to be sentenced to a month in jail at most.

But the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Cairo says that instead they have been given longer jail terms than police convicted of killing or seriously injuring civilians. ‘Struggle against terrorism’

The court also sentenced six Muslim Brotherhood leaders to 15 years in prison for inciting the protest. One report said the men had been tried in absentia. The verdicts come after the arrest of dozens of secular activists in Cairo, including another group of women who say they were beaten, harassed and left stranded in the desert.

They were demonstrating against a stringent new law which all but bans public protests, part of a crackdown the interim authorities have portrayed as a struggle against “terrorism”. Also some 17 clerics linked to the Islamist movement to which Mr Morsi belongs were arrested in the Nile Delta town of Gharbiya, the state news agency Mena reported.

They are accused of using mosques and sermons to incite unrest against the army and police. Mena also said that eight people would be put on trial on charges of abducting and torturing a lawyer during the 2011 uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

The defendants include Mahmoud al-Khodeiry, a former judge close to the Brotherhood, Osama Yassin, who served as youth minister under Mr Morsi, and Ahmed Mansour, a presenter for al-Jazeera television. Hundreds of people have also been killed in clashes since security forces cleared two sit-ins in Cairo by people demanding Mr Morsi’s reinstatement in August.

source: BBC NEWS / World News Department /Press TV

Virginia Dar al-Hijrah Imam Affirms MB Sympathies on Facebook

For a guy who claims to have nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood, Imam Shaker Elsayed dedicates a surprising volume of his Facebook page to the Egyptian Islamist group.

Elsayed, head of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va., features a picture of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi – the Brotherhood’s candidate in 2011 – across the top of the page. Teenage girls post smaller images of Justin Bieber.

In the corner, Elsayed features a dark green variant of the Brotherhood’s symbol of opposition – the R4BIA hand – emblazoned with the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest aspiration.”

Imam Shaker Elsayed

Other posts seem to scapegoat Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority for the Muslim Brotherhood’s failure in power after one year. In fact, the Egyptian army moved only after Morsi refused to negotiate with opponents or call new elections as tens of millions of Egyptians took to the street. They felt Morsi focused more on consolidating power for the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists at the expense of Egypt’s crumbling infrastructure and economy.

Elsayed denied connections with the Brotherhood during an August news conference on the eve of a pro-Morsi rally organized by Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR) when asked about them by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

“This is not about the Muslim Brotherhood. It is not even about Dr. Morsi,” Elsayed said.

The rally was in defense of democratic values and a stable Egypt, he said. “So we have nothing to do with your claims.”

Neither he nor the EADHR, which also prominently features the R4BIA symbol on its Facebook page, has anything to do with the Muslim Brotherhood, he said. But Elsayed also served as head of the Muslim American Society (MAS) before becoming Dar al-Hijrah’s imam in 2005.

MAS was founded in 1993 as the “overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America,” federal prosecutors wrote in 2008. “Everyone knows that MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood,” Abdurrahman Alamoudi, once the most influential Muslim American political activist, told federal investigators in a January interview from a federal correctional facility where he is serving time.

In a 2004 story about the Muslim Brotherhood in America, the Chicago Tribunequoted Elsayed describing Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna’s ideals as “the closest reflection of how Islam should be in this life.”

Al-Banna aimed to restore the caliphate and reunify the Islamic world with sharia as its guide and the convert Egyptian secular society into a thoroughly Islamic one. According to his 50-point Manifesto written in 1936, his principles included: strengthening the bonds between Islamic nations with the interest of restoring the caliphate; establishing an Islamic spirit of governance; segregating the sexes; banning dancing; and imposing “severe penalties for moral offenses” among other things.

The Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center, Falls Church, Va.

Elsayed’s mosque has a history of ties to radicals and has attracted repeated law enforcement attention over the years. Federal agents described Dar al-Hijrah as the subject of “numerous investigations for financing and proving (sic) aid and comfort to bad orgs and members.”

Among those bad members, American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki served as an imam at Dar al-Hijrah before leaving the United States; two 9/11 hijackers attended services there, as did Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan and terrorist financier Abdurrahman Alamoudi.

Elsayed is named in a 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document detailing the group’s plan to wage a non-violent civilization jihad to destroy “Western civilization from within.” A portion of the document describes people building organizations which spread the Islamist message.

“We have a seed for a “comprehensive Dawa’ educational” organization: We have the Daw’a section in ISNA + Dr. Jamal Badawi Foundation + the center run by brother Harned al-Ghazali + the Dawa’ center the Dawa’ Committee and brother Shaker al-Sayyed are seeking to establish now + in addition to other Daw’a efforts here and there…,” an FBI translation of the Arabic document says.

Elsayed’s Facebook page isn’t devoted solely to supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. It also includes a post demonizing Coptic Christians supporting the Egyptian army’s overthrow of Morsi and his government. Copts have been subjected to physical violence, including the burning of approximately 80 churches, and incendiary rhetoricfrom Muslim Brotherhood supporters since Morsi was deposed in July.

Four people were killed Sunday night, including an 8-year-old girl, when masked gunmen opened fire on guests leaving a wedding ceremony at a Coptic church outside Cairo.

Copts, representing about 10 percent of the population, may be the weakest elementin Egyptian society with few internal or external political resources at their disposal. But that did not deter Elsayed from setting them up as a boogeyman in Egypt’s internal turmoil. He posted a video quoting the Book of Isaiah out of context, suggesting that the Copts believe they need to undermine Egypt.

“This book is the main incitement to what is called sectarian strife in Egypt,” the video says. “This is what the Copts teach to their children in churches every day.”

Copts have co-existed peacefully in Egypt for centuries.

Elsayed has a record of inflammatory rhetoric. During a speech last February at an Alexandria, Va. high school, he said Muslim men shouldn’t resist giving “arms for jihad” out of fear they will be labeled as terrorists.

“You are a terrorist because you are a Muslim,” Elsayed said. “Well give them a run for their money. Make it worth it. Make this title worth it, and be good a Muslim.” Although the United States and the European Union classify Hamas has a terrorist group, Elsayed sees no problem with supporting its aims.

Elsayed defended Hamas’s use of suicide bombers in December 2002 remarksobjecting to the media’s use of the term “suicide bomber” as “unfairly” used.

“Nobody who is not Muslim has any right to decide for us, we the Muslims, whose is a martyr or another. We as Muslims will decide that. It is in-house business,” Elsayed said.

Despite this rhetoric, Dar al-Hijrah has enjoyed a strong relationship with government agencies. A State Department web site featured the mosque in a 2009 video as a model of American diversity. In 2008, the General Services Administration (GSA)leased office space from the mosque for use in the Census. The contract paid Dar al-Hijrah $582,000, or about $23,000 per month, through the end of 2010.

Days after the IPT exposed that deal, the State Department sent a class from its Foreign Service Institute – future diplomats – to the mosque to hear “attitudes and perspectives that immigrants from Muslims countries had about America before arriving and how their understandings have changed.”

Elsayed also has defended convicted terrorists. For example, he served as theunofficial spokesman for Ahmed Omar Abu-Ali‘s family after Abu-Ali was charged by American prosecutors in 2005 with providing support to al-Qaida.

Elsayed dismissed the charges as “revenge” against the Abu Ali family’s claim that his confession to Saudi Arabian officials was the result of torture and abuse. Abu Ali told interrogators that he was “determined to kill the president” and that he believed he “could have succeeded.” He plotted to get close enough to shoot President George W. Bush or use a car bomb to kill him.

Abu Ali was convicted in Virginia in 2006 of several criminal counts stemming from his status as the second-in-command of an al-Qaida cell in Medina, Saudi Arabia, including a plot to assassinate then-President Bush.

Elsayed also claims that the FBI has actively framed Muslims instead of investigating terrorist operations.

“Our experience here at al-Hijrah was very positive with the FBI leadership in Washington Field Office, until we found out that getting very close to the FBI came at a very serious price,” Elsayed said in a January 2011 interview with Iran’s Press TV.

The imam made his comments referring to the November 2010 arrest of Somali-born Mohamed Osman Mohamud on charges he planned to detonate a vehicle bomb at a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Oregon.

Elsayed’s record over the past two decades has been one of a repeated defense of Islamist extremists and terrorist activities and an effort to downplay the threat they pose to Americans. His denials about Muslim Brotherhood sympathies ring hollow in view of his record. And the pictures on his Facebook page paint a thousand words.

source; The Investigative Project on Terrorism

Whose Side Is Obama On?

Obama interrupted a hard day of lazing around Martha’s Vineyard to denounce the “arbitrary arrests” of Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the “broad crackdown on Mr. Morsi’s associations and supporters” and then insisted “We don’t take sides with any particular party or political figure.”

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It was quite a turn to take in a single speech, but he did have a full day of golfing to get in.

“We’ve been blamed by supporters of Morsi; we’ve been blamed by the other side as if we are supporters of Morsi,” Obama said. “That kind of approach will do nothing to help Egyptians achieve the future that they deserve.”

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The Egyptian military is reporting 638 deaths, over 4,000 injuries, and dozens of churches burned to the ground this week alone

He did not bother to explain how his efforts to free the leaders of an organization that was burning churches across Egypt would help Egyptians achieve the future they deserved. Unless perhaps he thought that the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Egypt, as in Syria, was the future that they deserved.

On Martha’s Vineyard, Obama disavowed all responsibility for the Muslim Brotherhood while insisting, once again, that its leaders should be set free.

Back in Cairo, in the days leading up to the great speech that was supposed to transform America’s relationship with the Muslim world, his administration had insisted that at least ten members of the Muslim Brotherhood attend the speech.

Obama had ordered Mubarak to step down, ratifying a military/protester coup that was not in substance any different than the one that forced Morsi out of office.

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Obama had ordered Mubarak to step down

While Obama was forcing Mubarak out, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “largely secular” organization that “eschewed violence.” It was a blatant lie that was unnecessary except to reduce opposition to the future Brotherhood victory.

While his officials seem eager to denounce the actions of the Post-Morsi government on a daily basis, they had nothing to say when Morsi was torturing political opponents.

At his confirmation hearing, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States had to keep providing weapons to Egypt because “The fact that sometimes other countries elect someone you don’t completely agree with doesn’t give us permission to walk away.”

This June, Kerry insisted that we had to keep providing aid to Egypt, despite Morsi’s abuses and lack of democracy, in order to maintain “a channel to Egyptian military leadership, who are key opinion makers in the country.”

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Kerry insisted that we had to keep providing aid to Egypt, despite Morsi’s abuses and lack of democracy

But once Morsi was gone, the F-16s that had been the subject of such controversy, and that Obama had insisted on providing to Morsi, were denied to the Egyptian military. Obama was willing to provide advanced weapons to the Muslim Brotherhood, but not to the Egyptian military.

Obama demanded that the Egyptian military go easy on the Brotherhood protesters, but had made no such requests of Morsi. He repeatedly emphasized that foreign aid was on the line in his threats to the new Egyptian government, but had made no move to warn Morsi that foreign aid was linked to his treatment of the political opposition.

During the Morsi era, the administration insisted that human rights could not be linked to Egyptian military or civilian aid. After Morsi, suddenly the same officials were very interested in human rights.

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In the days and weeks after Morsi’s overthrow, administration officials and spokesmen made it painfully clear that they wanted the Muslim Brotherhood to participate in any new government.

Early on, Obama had said that everyone’s voices must be heard, including “those who have supported President Morsy.” There were no such calls the first time around to ensure that the voices of those who supported Mubarak would be heard.

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Jay Carney

White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the United States could not support the arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and urged the new government, which covered the spectrum from liberals to Islamists, to be more “inclusive.” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki emphasized that arresting Brotherhood leaders would make a “national reconciliation” impossible.

There were urgent calls for a rapid transition back to elected civilian government. That policy of rapid elections had led to the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood the first time around as any foreign policy expert had known it would after the earlier victories by Hamas; the Muslim Brotherhood’s arm in Gaza.

This was part of a pattern that would begin playing out across the region.

In Syria, Obama had made the decision to arm the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Free Syrian Army while disregarding its blatant ties to Al Qaeda.

In Libya, an Islamist militia linked to the Muslim Brotherhood had been paid to protect the Benghazi mission, which had been deprived of more conventional security and assistance.

While the protests against the Brotherhood were mounting in Egypt, in Libya the Muslim Brotherhood was orchestrating a wave of protests against the government. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood insisted on its right to power because it was the democratically elected government, while in Libya it was trying to overthrow a democratically elected government.

Libya, Egypt and Syria formed a triangle of conflicts, with Libyan weapons moving on to Syria and Egyptian Jihadists involving themselves in both conflicts.A former Egyptian intelligence officer has recently alleged that the killer of Ambassador Stevens can be found with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. There are other allegations that the Benghazi attackers shouted, “Dr. Morsi sent us.”

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translated Libyan government memo reportedly stated that the captured Benghazi attackers were Egyptians with backing from the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a region as clouded with claims and counter-claims, with conspiracy theories and real conspiracies, it can be hard to know what the truth is, but there is little doubt that whatever pallid denials Obama may offer before embarking on another round of golf, his administration chose to get deep into bed with an international terrorist organization.

All the accusations, true or untrue, are the product of that first conspiracy.

Obama created a set of favorable conditions that would allow the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists to take over country after country. When they couldn’t do it non-violently, he went to war, as he did in Libya. When he couldn’t go to war for them, he supplied them with weapons and training, as he did in Syria. When they were overthrown, he supported them to the hilt, as he is doing in Egypt.

The wave of terror spreading over the region has empowered Al Qaeda and endangered America, bringing no stability, only an endless conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and everyone else. Threading through the center of the relationship between Obama and the Brothers is the web that links the various conflicts, the alliances between Islamist militias and the Muslim Brotherhood and the wave of attacks on American diplomatic facilities that took place on the anniversary of September 11.

The son of Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat Al-Shater, the man who was originally meant to be the President of Egypt, has come forward to claim that the Muslim Brotherhood is blackmailing Obama with documents that could put him in jail.

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Mohammed al Zwahiri

Meanwhile the Egyptian authorities have arrested Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of the leader of Al Qaeda, who had been held in deep detention under Mubarak, but was freed under Morsi. Zawahiri became a top leader in Ansar Al-Sharia, a sister organization of the one accused of carrying out the Benghazi attack. Muhammad Jamal Abu Ahmad, another terrorist freed under Morsi, was reportedly closely involved in that attack.

Egypt has already charged Morsi with collaborating with Hamas. It will be interesting to see what information the same security establishment that helped the Bush administration break captured Al Qaeda terrorists will pry out of Mohammed al Zawahiri.

source: Front Page Mag

r-RIBBON-BANNER-huge

CAIRO — Egypt is taking extreme measures to keep Mohammed Morsi hidden. It says dignitaries are helicoptered to the deposed president’s place of detention after nightfall, flying in patterns aimed at confusing the visitors. The military also has reportedly moved Morsi at least three times.

“Maneuvers have been undertaken during the nighttime helicopter flight so as to disorient (the visitors) in regard to where the location is,” Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali, the military spokesman, told The Associated Press Wednesday, following a visit to Morsi Tuesday night by an African Union delegation.

The Egyptian army has kept Morsi in hiding since ousting him in a July 3 coup. But the military-backed interim leadership is under international criticism about Morsi’s continued detention, and by allowing two high-level visits in quick succession it apparently hoped to ease the pressure.

“There are lies going around that he is badly treated, that he is under pressure, or that he is not taking his medication, and these were conveyed to the West,” Ali said. “This step was part of a transparency policy and to refute such allegations. We have nothing to hide.”

He said Morsi’s whereabouts were being kept secret for his own safety because “there are millions of people against him, and moving him is not considered appropriate at the moment.”

Residents of Rabaah al-Adawiya neighborhood hold Arabic placards that read:”Not to terrorize the residents,” as they march during a protest against the supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who have installed their camp and hold their daily rally on their area, at Nasr city, Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, July 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

It’s also possible, however, that if his place of detention were revealed, it would also attract throngs of Morsi supporters.

He has already been moved at least three times between Defense Ministry facilities in armored vehicles under heavy guard, security officials told the AP, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the details of Morsi’s case with the media. They said he is currently in a facility outside Cairo, but would not elaborate.

The African Union delegation head, former Mali President Alpha Oumar Konare, offered no clues to Morsi’s location. He told reporters he had a “very frank meeting” with him but gave no details. Egypt’s state news agency said it lasted an hour.

“We had a very good meeting with President Morsi,” Konare said. “Permit me not to talk about it for the time being because probably there will be other meetings.”

The African Union has suspended Egypt’s membership because of the coup.

On Monday Morsi had a two-hour visit from Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top diplomat. She said the 61-year-old was well and keeping up with developments through TV and newspapers, but gave no other details. She said she saw the facility holding him, but didn’t know where it was.

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The military originally said it was holding Morsi forhis own safety. But last week authorities announced he was being detained pending an investigation into allegations that he conspired with the militant Palestinian Hamas group to escape from prison during the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi’s supporters have called his detention illegal.

“A second visit after Baroness Ashton to President Morsi from the African Union. When will his family, which is more deserving, visit him?” tweeted Essam el-Erian, a leading member of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi is married with five children.

Ali, the military spokesman, said there are unlikely to be more visits by foreign dignitaries, now that two delegations have found him to be in good health.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle arrived Wednesday, and his request for a meeting was refused. A delegation of U.S. senators arriving shortly has not asked for one. A two-member delegation from Egyptian human rights groups visited Morsi this weekend, but he refused to meet them, according to local media.

Despite the visits, Egypt’s politics remain deadlocked.

Morsi’s supporters say they will continue their street rallies until Egypt’s first freely elected president is reinstated, while the interim government took a defiant stance Wednesday, declaring a monthlong sit-in by thousands of Morsi supporters is a national security threat, terrorizing residents and threatening state institutions. The government said the sit-ins will be broken up by legal means.

Supporters of Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi wave their national flags during a demonstration where protesters have installed their camp and hold their daily rally, at Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt, Friday, July 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Shortly after the coup, thousands of Morsi supporters converged on a Republican Guard club in Cairo where they believed he was being held. Days later security forces killed more than 50 Morsi supporters near the facility, saying some were armed and tried to break into the building. The Morsi supporters denied it.

One intriguing detail that emerged from the meeting with Ashton was disclosed to the AP by a government official familiar with the talks between Ashton and Morsi. He said Morsi expressed the wish to consult the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme leader, Mohammed Badie.

That could mean that Morsi, isolated for a month, needs to hear the Brotherhood’s view on whether he should stand his ground, compromise or relinquish the presidency. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to speak to the media.

source:

world

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Egypt’s day of the dead is put on hold: Fearing fresh violence, authorities delay funerals of massacre victims

The family of Mohammed Khair Gamal had been looking for his body for the last three days after he was shot dead. They found him at the end in the morgue at Zinhom, a place which his mother, a doctor, knew well, among a pile brought in from the massacre on Monday, when troops fired on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Not many of the corpses were going to be released in time for a mass memorial the Islamist Brotherhood movement had planned for their dead supporters, amid apprehension that it would be the catalyst for another round of the vicious strife which has convulsed Egypt since Mohamed Morsi was deposed as President by the military.

Today the first steps towards the country’s new political future were announced by the interim administration with Hazem el-Beblawi, an economist, named as Prime Minister and Mohamed ElBaradei – whose own appointment to that post was blocked by the conservative Islamist party al-Nour – becoming a Vice-President.

The army also reminded politicians who wields the real power now. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, its chief, stated “The future of the nation is too important and sacred for manoeuvres or hindrance” – a message believed to be aimed at al-Nour, which had backed the departure of Mr Morsi but had subsequently proved problematic.

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Acting President Adli Mansour

The acting President Adli Mansour also  proposed a “fast-track road map” in which  amendments to a constitution Mr Morsi had forced through while in power will be put to a referendum in four months, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections next year.

The appointments and the constitutional proposals were immediately rejected by the Brotherhood which repeated its call for an uprising first made after more than 51 of its supporters died and 440 were injured in what it called a “cold-blooded massacre” outside the headquarters of the Republican Guard.

The deputy chairman of the Brotherhood’s political wing the Freedom and Justice Party, Essam el-Erian, described the move as a “decree issued after midnight by a person appointed by putschists, usurping the legislative power from a council elected by the people and bringing the country back to stage zero”.

The movement’s spokesman, Gehad el-Haddad, declared that its campaign will continue in the streets, with more marches and sit-ins.

Zinhom morgue, meanwhile, was a place of chaos with dozens of bereaved families and friends angry that they were being denied the Islamic religious rite of burial within 24 hours.

The view among many was that the proposals for the new constitution were a sham.

“We have already had elections and Morsi won democratically. Why should there be another election?” asked Yusuf Shahdi, a friend of Mohammed Khair Gamal. “People died to defend Mohamed Morsi’s right to remain as President – that should not be given away. What about the sacrifice of my friend?

“They would not even tell us where his body was. His poor mother had to be told that he has been found here. She is now inside, crying.”

Mr Gamal, 27, died after being hit by gunfire during clashes when followers of the Brotherhood had attempted to storm Tahrir Square where their opponents had gathered in their thousands. Mohammed Sorwar, a relation, said: “A man in civilian clothes came from behind the soldiers and shot him. That is the kind of people who are now trying to hijack our constitution.”

Dr Mohammed Abu Sayed was also there to collect the body of a friend, 27-year-old Mohammed Abdurrahman, who was killed in the confrontation at the Republican Guard barracks. “The morgues were not expecting to deal with so many bodies coming in at once. They haven’t had the time to wash them and prepare them properly” he said.

“Not having a funeral for all the martyrs is one matter; what is happening with our government is another. It is not just the army which got rid of President Morsi, but also the other political parties. What we have discovered is that there are many types of liberals, but they are united in one thing; they do not see us Islamists in the political process. We know now that we cannot depend on anyone else. We will go our own way.”

But there were a few at the morgue who have decided that the current crisis was, at least partly, caused by Mr Morsi and a group around him going too much their own way. Ashraf Ali Marwan, a 48 year-old surveyor, wanted to speak away from the crowd because he did not “want to start loud arguments at a place like this”. He continued, “My nephew is in there, dead. I blame the soldiers for killing him, but how did we come to such a situation?

“I voted for Morsi because he was the better alternative to Shafik [Ahmed Shafik, deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s last Prime Minister] and I didn’t want anyone associated with the old regime. Morsi was meant to represent the whole opposition, but it became more and more just the Islamists and they did not know what they were doing: the economy was collapsing. The deaths of people like my nephew will not save the Muslim Brotherhood. I will not vote for them in the future, and there are a lot of people like me. And, without our kind of voters, they’ll never win again.”

A senior Western diplomat in Cairo spoke of how Mr Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood had wasted a golden opportunity. “They had the backing and the goodwill of the international community and people like Essam [el-Erian] seemed competent.

“But in reality they proved to be pretty incompetent; everyone could see the economic car crash, that they were simply running out of money, but they kept on saying ‘There’ll be a way’, they had a plan. As we know, they didn’t. It does seem to be the case that they have lost the floating voters.”

Tonight, there was still a large crowd at the Brotherhood rally at the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, near where the killings took place: and there were still people waiting at the morgue. Mr Marwan was going to take his nephew’s body for burial straight to the home town of Damietta. “He is going to be with people who loved him, we do not want to play politics with the dead from our family,” he said.

A nation divided: The various players

The military

Egyptian Minister of Defense Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi

Led by the Defence Minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the military has shown that it is Egypt’s most powerful institution and that ultimately it holds the balance of power. The army’s decision to remove President Morsi last week was one that only it could have taken – despite evidence that it has shot protesters, many Egyptians are still looking to the army to restore order.

Tamarod

Tamarod (Rebel)

If it was the military that ultimately removed Mr Morsi, the protests that led to the army’s intervention were led by Tamarod, a grassroots movement that took to the streets on 30 June to demand the former President’s removal from office. After garnering the support of millions of Egyptians, it was Tamarod that gave Mr Morsi the ultimatum: leave or face crippling civil disobedience.

Adli Mansour

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Adli Mansour

After removing the democratically elected Mr Morsi, the army appointed Mr Mansour – the head of the supreme constitutional court – as Egypt’s new interim President. He has praised the protests and told those on the streets that he won’t allow any tyrants to replace him, but his words have done little to quell the anger on the streets.

Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood

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Mohamed Morsi

On the face of it, President Morsi represented all that was good about the 2011 revolution – he was Egypt’s first democratically elected President, he had a mandate from the people and an organised political base. However, his year in office was plagued by accusations that he had concentrated power in the hands of his party. Mr Morsi is under house arrest and about 50 of his supporters were killed on Monday in clashes with the army.

Mohamed ElBaradei and the National Salvation Front

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Mohamed ElBaradei

Mr El Baradei – the former head of UN’s nuclear agency – has been a prominent player in post-revolution Egypt and had been tipped to be head the new interim government having organised a loose alliance of liberal parties. His appointment was blocked, however, by al-Nour, the only Salafist group to have sided with last week’s coup; he has instead been appointed Vice-President with the economist Hazem el Beblawi appointed Prime Minister.

Saudi Arabia and UAE pledge $8bn in aid

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Saudi arabia’s King Abdullah

Egypt has received two pledges of significant financial aid as its political crisis continued.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah – who lauded the armed forces chief General Abdel Fatah el-Sisi for helping Egypt escape from “a dark tunnel” in the aftermath of Mohamed Morsi’s removal – has approved a $5bn (£3.4bn) package comprising a $2bn central bank deposit, $2bn in energy products and $1bn in cash.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which also professed its “satisfaction” at the toppling of Mr Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, has promised a total of $3bn in grants and interest-free loans. The UAE claims the Brotherhood has supported Islamist groups attempting to oust its Western-backed leadership. King Abdullah personally called General Sisi on Friday to stress his support for Egypt’s new rulers.

AP

Egypt unrest: 40 Morsi supporters shot dead in Cairo

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At least 40 people have been killed in a shooting incident in Cairo, amid ongoing unrest over the removal of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood says its members were fired on at a barracks where they believe Mr Morsi is being held, during a sit-in demanding his reinstatement.

However the army said a “terrorist group” had tried to storm the barracks.

Mr Morsi, an Islamist and Egypt’s first freely elected leader, was ousted by the army last week after mass protests.

Scores of people have been killed since the unrest began at the end of last month.

Mr Morsi is believed to be detained at the Presidential Guard Club, in the eastern Nasr City district of the capital.

His supporters – many of them members of Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement – have been staging a sit-in there. They say the army has mounted a coup and that Mr Morsi is the legitimate president.

After Monday morning’s violence, the hardline Salafist Nour party – which had supported Mr Morsi’s removal – said it was withdrawing from talks to choose an interim prime minister, describing the shooting incident as a “massacre”.

‘Weapons seized’

The Egyptian health ministry said at least 40 people had been killed, including an army officer, while the Brotherhood put the number of dead at 53, and said children were among the victims.

Some 300 people were reported wounded.

TV channels broadcast images of dead and injured people being taken to clinics and field hospitals.

Protester Mohammed Ali

 One injured man said he was hit by a tear gas canister:

“I was outside the barracks near the entrance, and I saw people coming at me, so I looked over my shoulder so that I could run. But when I faced back to the front a tear gas canister hit me in the face. Blood was coming out of my face so I lay on my back. Then a soldier attacked me and hit me with the butt of his rifle on my leg, and said we have to cleanse the square of all of you today,” said Mohamed Ali.

But there were conflicting reports over how the violence unfolded.

The Muslim Brotherhood said the army had raided its sit-in at about 04:00 (02:00 GMT) as protesters were performing dawn prayers.

“The protesters were taken unawares and the troops used live ammunition, bird shot and tear gas,” protester Alaa el-Hadidi told the BBC.

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Brotherhood’s political wing – which took nearly half the seats in last year’s historic election – called on Egyptians to stage an “uprising” in response to the incident, against “those trying to steal their revolution with tanks”.

It also urged “the international community and international groups and all the free people of the world to intervene to stop further massacres” and to stop Egypt becoming “a new Syria”.

But in a statement read on state media, the army blamed the shooting on “an armed terrorist group” that had tried to storm the barracks.

Soldiers outside Tahrir Square, Cairo (8 July 2013)

 It said an army officer was among those killed and that a number of others were wounded, some critically.

The statement said some 200 people had been arrested and were found to have weapons, ammunition and petrol bombs.

Prosecutors have also ordered the closure of the FJP headquarters in Cairo, after police said weapons had been found inside.

The army later said two soldiers had been briefly kidnapped by Morsi supporters.

It said that in two separate instances men armed with guns and knives had forced the soldiers into vehicles and made them repeat pro-Morsi statements, filming one of them doing so.

The soldiers managed to escape, said the Mena news agency.

Political setback

Mr Morsi was ousted on Wednesday by the military, which said it was responding to the demands of the people.

Protesters had been demanding that Mr Morsi step down, saying he had failed to tackle Egypt’s economic problems and was becoming increasingly authoritarian.

He was replaced on Thursday by Adly Mansour – the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court. Mr Mansour has pledged to hold elections soon, but as yet has given no date for them.

______________________________________

Army’s post-Morsi roadmap

Morsi supporters in Cairo (5 July 2013)
  • Constitution to be suspended temporarily and interim president sworn in
  • “Strong and competent” civilian technocratic government to be installed
  • Supreme Court to pass a draft law on parliamentary election and prepare for parliamentary and presidential polls
  • “Charter of honour” to be drawn up and followed by the media
  • Measures taken to empower young people and a national reconciliation committee to be formed

The army has insisted it does not want to remain in power.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of both supporters and opponents of Mr Morsi rallied in many Egyptian cities.

The BBC’s Jim Muir in Cairo says that despite the conflicting reports about Monday’s violence, it is clear that blood has been shed, which will aggravate an already critical situation.

The withdrawal of the ultra-conservative Nour party from the political transition talks will also set back efforts to appoint a new prime minister, our correspondent adds.

Party spokesman Nadder Bakkar said it had “decided to withdraw immediately from all negotiations in response to the massacre”.

Though the Islamist party had backed the army-led “roadmap” to new elections, it had blocked the appointment of two potential prime ministers because of concerns over the shape of a new constitution.

One of those rejected by Nour, leading opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei, condemned the violence and called for an “immediate independent and transparent investigation”, saying Egypt was “in dire need of reconciliation”.

Source: BBC NEWS

Egypt: Coptic priest killed in Sinai

Shooting could be first sectarian killing since Mohamed Morsi ousted, and comes after almost 24 hours of violence that left at least 1,100 injured

Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour meets with his defence minister General Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi

 A Christian priest has been shot dead in the northern Sinai in what could be the first sectarian killing since the military overthrow of PresidentMohamed Morsi, as funerals took place for at least 36 people killed between Friday and Saturday in demonstrations and rioting.

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Mina Aboud Sharween was attacked in the early afternoon on Saturday while walking in the Masaeed area in El Arish, which is close to the Gaza Strip.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood criticised Pope Tawadros, spiritual leader ofEgypt‘s 8 million Copts, for giving his blessing to the removal of the president and attending the announcement by the head of the army, General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, suspending the constitution.

The army-appointed interim president, Adly Mansour, met Sisi as senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Morsi, remained in military detention.

Morsi’s supporters have vowed to remain on the streets until he is reinstated. His opponents, meanwhile, have called for more mass rallies to defend what they call the “gains of June 30″, a reference to the start of massive protests to call for the removal of the president.

Charred remains: Egyptians drive past a car that was destroyed as Morsi’s supporters clashed with his opponents in Cairo‘s emblematic Tahrir Square

In Cairo, only a fraction of the city’s normally heavy traffic was on the streets on Saturday amid worries that violence could flare again.

Mansour also met on Saturday with leaders of Tamarod (Rebel), the youth movement that organised the mass anti-Morsi demonstrations.

 on Saturday morning after almost 24 hours of violence which left more than 1,100 injured.

Debris: The Egyptian capital’s iconic Tahrir Square was strewn with debris today after a night of fighting that left several dead and more than a thousand injured across the country

Clashes had erupted on Friday night between supporters and opponents of Morsi in central Cairo and other cities across Egypt, as fears of an expected backlash against his removal materialised.

Fighting broke out shortly after the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie – reported to have been arrested on Thursday – appeared unexpectedly at a rally in east Cairo on Friday evening to tell his followers to remain on the streets until Morsi’s return. The ousted president had once been a senior member of the Islamist party.

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Mohammed Badie

In Cairo, a crowd of close to 5,000 Morsi supporters crossed the Nile over the 6 October Bridge, near the hub of opposition dissent, Tahrir Square. Turning left towards Maspero, the state television centre, they were approached by anti-Morsi demonstrators and fighting broke out in the streets.

Similar scenes were also reported in Egypt’s second city, Alexandria, and there were reports of skirmishes in Luxor in the south of the country. The Sinai peninsula was placed on a state of emergency after an attack by gunmen on a local airport. There were also clashes reported in Damanhour, in Egypt’s north-east, and Beni Suef, in the south, as Islamists protested across the country at Morsi’s removal – in what the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups had billed as a “day of rejection”.

Amid chaotic scenes near Tahrir, neither the army nor police intervened for two hours in what was the area’s first glimpse of factional fighting since Morsi was forced from office on Wednesday. Live ammunition was heard as the two sides pelted each other with fireworks and stones. Molotovs were thrown and a car was burned out in clashes that ended only once the army sent several armoured vehicles to calm the situation at about 10pm.

Tensions were already high after security forces guarding Morsi shot and killed at least three of his supporters protesting outside the Republican Guards building in Cairo in which he was being held – and injured 15 more.

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The shootings came as a Brotherhood official claimed that every single member of the organisation’s leadership group had been arrested or was wanted by police, after new warrants were issued on Friday. A senior Brotherhood official claimed they were now being accused not just of insulting the judiciary, but of inciting murder.

The violence against Morsi’s supporters confirmed the worst fears of Islamists, who warned this week that they would face renewed violent oppression under the new military-backed regime.

Demonstrators at the scene said they had initially wanted to rescue the former president from captivity and escort him back to the presidential palace. But once the protesters – who marched on the Republican Guards building from two different mosques – arrived at about 3pm, they claimed that, in fact, they stayed back, chanting their support.

According to one eyewitness, the shootings began half an hour later, after a man left the crowd, approached a barbed-wire fence protecting the compound and fixed a Morsi poster to it. “Then he walked back,” said Anas Abdel Rahim, a 19-year-old salesman with blood staining his hands after a teenager was shot in his arms. “Then someone wearing civilian clothes [on the army's side of the line] came to take the poster off the fence. People started shouting. He left it. He went to a soldier. They had a conversation. After the conversation the guy in civilian clothes started shooting.”

Following the shots, protesters started running and security officials fired teargas and birdshot into the crowds – many of whom were caught unawares.

Violence: Shots were fired during a gathering of supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo after backers of Morsi staged huge protests in the capital and across the country

“They starting shooting, people started running, I was praying, and I got shot,” said Ahmed Mohamed, bent over beside an ambulance as medics plucked birdshot pellets from his back.

The Guardian photographed live ammunition marked with army insignia at the scene. An army spokesman denied its involvement in the shooting.

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Nearby a 50,000-strong pro-Morsi rally was held, where Brotherhood officials admitted that the immediate operational future of the party, a strictly hierarchical group that relies heavily on its leaders, was in disarray. With all the members of its top-level Guidance Office likely to be arrested soon, and most of its 200-strong, second-tier Shura Council seemingly also sought by police, the Brotherhood faces the most serious disruption to its operational capacity in decades. Senior Brotherhood officials appeared uncertain of who could take over in the event of Badie’s arrest.

Asked who could succeed the organisation’s spiritual leader, Mohamed Beltagy, a Brotherhood “guidance officer”, replied: “Whoever remains in the Guidance Office.” He said he expected to be arrested himself once he left the rally. After it was pointed out that no guidance officers might soon be left at liberty, Beltagy said: “These questions should be asked of the person that decided to leave the Brotherhood without leadership.”

But Beltagy said the Brotherhood would survive. “Attempts to destroy [us] have been going on for 80 years and have never succeeded.”

“We will go underground if we have to,” said Salah Sultan, a senior official in the Brotherhood, and Egypt’s deputy minister of Islamic affairs.–

 

Egypt: Violent clashes after Morsi supporters killed by army fire *videos*

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Supporters and opponents of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have clashed hours after three pro-Morsi protesters were killed by army fire.

The rival groups hurled fireworks and stones at each other across a bridge near Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

There were also clashes in other cities. At least 12 people have been killed and 318 hurt around the country.

The army removed Mr Morsi from power on Wednesday after millions of people protested over his leadership.

The BBC’s Ben Brown reports on clashes between pro and anti-Morsi demonstrators on the fringes of Tahrir Square

Twelve people have died in Alexandria and three in Cairo in clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, reports say.

The violence came after three pro-Morsi demonstrators were killed by security forces in another part of the capital.

Troops later restored calm in Cairo, but nationwide violence left some 26 dead and 318 injured, officials said.

The army removed Mr Morsi from power on Wednesday after millions of people protested over his leadership.

Mr Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, is in detention, as are some senior figures of his Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Early on Saturday, state media reported the Brotherhood’s deputy leader Khairat el-Shater had been arrested at his Cairo home on suspicion of incitement to violence.

The Tamarod [Rebel] movement – which organised recent anti-Morsi protests – accused the ousted president of pursuing an Islamist agenda against the wishes most Egyptians, and of failing to tackle economic problems.

The US State Department issued a condemnation of Friday’s violence and called for all leaders to put a stop to any further aggression.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also expressed alarm at the violence, saying that it was for the people of Egypt to determine the way forward – and all people, including women, needed to be part of that process.

Anger and passion

Most of those killed during fighting in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, died from gunshot wounds, said Amr Nasr, head of emergency services in the city.

He told the official Mena news agency that 200 people were injured during clashes in Egypt’s second-largest city.

Earlier, after midday prayers, Islamist supporters of Mr Morsi staged a series of marches across Cairo – including outside Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque where tens of thousands massed.

Tensions escalated when a crowd advanced on the nearby headquarters of the Republican Guard, where Mr Morsi is believed to be held.

Troops then opened fire on crowds. Three people were killed and dozens wounded, including the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen whose head was grazed by shotgun pellets.

In the evening, tens of thousands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood filled the square near the mosque, as well as nearby streets.

The Brotherhood’s supreme leader, Mohammed Badie, told the crowd: “We shall stay in the squares until we bring President Morsi back to power.”

He said their protests would remain peaceful and called on the army not to “direct your arms against us”.

Shortly afterwards, Brotherhood supporters surged across the 6th October Bridge over the Nile river, towards Tahrir Square where anti-Morsi protesters were gathered.

The rival groups hurled fireworks and stones at each other. A car was set on fire and stones and fireworks were thrown.

The BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Cairo says there is anger and passion on both sides – as well as a determination to win a battle for the streets which is making the capital a dangerous and volatile place.

Late on Friday, tanks arrived at the bridge to separate the clashing protesters and the violence died down.

‘Glorious revolution’

There were clashes in other parts of Egypt on Friday.

Islamist attacks on the Sinai peninsula left five police and one soldier dead.

One protester was killed in the central city of Assiut, and AFP news agency reported another death in Minya.

In Qina in the south, troops opened fire on pro-Morsi activists trying to storm a security building. At least two people were injured.

Firing was also reported in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya.

Ahead of Friday’s protests, the army command said it would not take “arbitrary measures against any faction or political current” and would guarantee the right to protest, as long as demonstrations did not threaten national security.

“Peaceful protest and freedom of expression are rights guaranteed to everyone, which Egyptians have earned as one of the most important gains of their glorious revolution,” it said.

On Thursday the head of Egypt’s constitutional court, Adly Mahmud Mansour, was sworn in as interim head of state, and he promised to hold elections soon.

On Friday Mr Mansour dissolved the upper house – or Shura Council – which had been dominated by Morsi supporters and had served as sole legislative body after the lower house was dissolved last year.

Mr Mansour also appointed a new intelligence chief, Mohamed Ahmed Farid.

Bowen: Egypt’s failed democratic experiment

Gardner: Dangerous moment for the Middle East

Optimism for Egypt economy

Key players in the Egyptian crisis

Q&A: Crisis explained

Egypt unrest: Morsi marchers die as army opens fire

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Egyptian troops have opened fire on protesters marching in support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, killing three and wounding dozens.

The shooting came as crowds moved to the Republican Guard headquarters, where Mr Morsi is believed to be held.

Later the Muslim Brotherhood‘s leader told supporters that protests would continue until Mr Morsi was reinstated.

The army, which removed Mr Morsi on Wednesday after days of unrest, denied shooting live rounds at demonstrators.

However the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen at the scene says he saw soldiers fire on the protesters.

BBC REPORTER Jeremy Bowen was hit in the head and injured by shotgun pellets during violent protests in Egypt, he revealed on Twitter today.

A-Twitter-picture-of-Jeremy-Bowen-who-was-injured-during-the-Egypt-clashes

 The BBC Middle East Editor was wounded and had to have his head bandaged while reporting on protests between the military and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.


The 53-year-old, who has been with the BBC since 1984, was reporting from outside the headquarters of the Republican Guard where violent clashes took place.

Mr Bowen wrote on Twitter: “Thanks for the messages. I’ve been hit by a couple of shotgun pellets. Am fine and heading out”.

Sources claimed that at least three people had died during the clashes, while the army said soldiers had only used blank rounds and teargas.

In one picture on Twitter Mr Bowen was shown being having his head bandaged after he was injured during the clashes.

Mr Bowen added: “Tear gas fired by army at crowd that had gathered round the body of dead protestor

About 2,000 people had marched on the officers’ club of the Republican Guard after passionate Friday Prayers at the nearby Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque.

As the crowd grew, got angrier and pushed forward, the troops opened fire – first into the air, then at the crowd, our correspondent reports.

One man fell to the ground with blood on his clothes, says our correspondent – who was himself lightly wounded in the head by shotgun pellets.

Three people were killed and 69 injured in the shooting, the head of Cairo’s emergency services said.

By evening, tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters had massed outside Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque and filled nearby streets.

The Brotherhood’s supreme leader, Mohammed Badie, told the crowd: “We shall stay in the squares until we bring President Morsi back to power.”

Mr Badie also denied reports that he had been arrested earlier this week. Two other top Brotherhood figures Saad el-Katatni and Mohammed Bayoumi were released on Friday, the state-run Mena news agency reported.

Muslim Brotherhood crackdown

  • Top Brotherhood figures Saad el-Katatni and Mohammed Bayoumi arrested this week but released on Friday
  • Dozens more figures are uncontactable, most with their phones switched off, says a spokesman
  • The group’s television channel Misr25 has been taken off air, as have several other Islamist channels
  • More than 200 Brotherhood members – including influential figure Khairat el-Shater – are on a wanted list
  • More members have been forbidden from leaving Egypt, the groups says

_______________________________

Later supporters and opponents of Mr Morsi clashed in the capital’s Tahrir Square.

The Tamarod [Rebel] movement – which organised recent anti-Morsi protests – had urged supporters to mobilise again to “protect the revolution”.

Tamarod accuses Mr Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood – to which he belongs – of pursuing an Islamist agenda against the wishes of the majority, and of failing to tackle economic problems.

There were clashes in other parts of Egypt on Friday too.

In Qina in the south, troops opened fire on pro-Morsi activists trying to storm a security building. At least two people were injured.

Firing was also reported in Alexandria in the north, Egypt’s second-largest city, and in the canal city of Ismailiya.

Ahead of Friday’s protests, the army command said it would not take “arbitrary measures against any faction or political current” and would guarantee the right to protest, as long as demonstrations did not threaten national security.

“Peaceful protest and freedom of expression are rights guaranteed to everyone, which Egyptians have earned as one of the most important gains of their glorious revolution,” it said.

New spy chief

Pro-Morsi protester, Cairo, 5 July

The Muslim Brotherhood has vowed to stay on the street

 Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad said the movement was refusing to co-operate with the new leadership and demanded the immediate release of those detained.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague tweeted that he was “very concerned by reports of deaths in Cairo”.

Mr Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, is in detention, as are some senior figures in the Brotherhood. Arrest warrants have been issued for some 300 others.

On Thursday the head of Egypt’s constitutional court, Adly Mahmud Mansour, was sworn in as interim head of state, and he promised to hold elections soon.

On Friday Mr Mansour dissolved the upper house – or Shura Council – which had been dominated by Morsi supporters and had served as sole legislative body after the lower house was dissolved last year.

Mr Mansour also appointed a new intelligence chief, Mohamed Ahmed Farid.

Mr Morsi’s removal followed several days of unrest in which dozens of people died.

Earlier on Friday, unidentified gunmen killed two Egyptian soldier in the northern Sinai town of Al-Arish.

The Sinai has seen a series of militant attacks over the past two years, and it is unclear whether the latest attacks are linked to the political upheaval.

Bowen: Egypt’s failed democratic experiment

Gardner: Dangerous moment for the Middle East

Optimism for Egypt economy

Key players in the Egyptian crisis

Q&A: Crisis explained

 

 

 

 

Egypt: Morsi is under house arrest and Obama orders review of U.S. aid

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The Egyptian military seized power Wednesday from President Mohammed Morsi following demonstrations and days of unrest over the leadership of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square responded with roars, applause, and fireworks marking an end to what had become an unruly regime. Morsi had been elected the year before in the wake of Egypt’s overthrow of decades of dictatorship by Hosni Mubarak.

General Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi, the commanding general of the armed forces, said on Egyptian television that the head of the constitutional court would be the acting president, with new elections to be held later. A senior advisor to the Freedom and Justice Party and spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood confirmed that Morsi was under house arrest at the Republican Guard Club. Most members of his presidential team were also under house arrest.

Egypt, long a central U.S. ally in the Middle East, is the largest and most important Arab country. Egypt receives roughly $1.3 billion in military aid from the United States, funds that could be at risk in coup. Although it did not seed the Arab Spring, the fact that Egyptians became such a key part of the movement that began in Tunisia, gave rise to other protests and calls for freedom across the Middle East.

The initial change in power, which brought Morsi to the presidency, was an early test for the Obama administration and how it would respond to calls for democracy that also meant the exit of strategic partnerships begun decades earlier. Just a day earlier, the Obama administration was cautious in its response to demonstrations calling for Morsi’s ouster and strongly denied that it was pushing for early elections.

President Obama issued a statement that said in part, “The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people.” He called on the Egyptian military “to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process.” And he concluded by saying that “the longstanding partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values, and we will continue to work with the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt’s transition to democracy succeeds.”

The president said he would order an assessment of what the military’s actions meant for U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. U.S. law says the government must suspend foreign aid to any nation whose elected leader is ousted in a coup d’etat. The U.S. provides $1.5 billion a year in military and economic assistance to Egypt, a key U.S. national security priority.

Following the coup, State Department officials ordered all non-essential U.S. embassy staff and families to leave Egypt as soon as possible and to avoid all demonstrations, even seemingly peaceful protests.

Egyptians, new to the democratic process, quickly grew weary of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, a party founded on Islamic faith in a largely secular state that had never been run by religious rule. Further unrest boiled over for the almost 83 million people living in Egypt as Morsi’s rule failed to bring on the economic stability they had hoped for and expected.

“This was an experiment in political Islam that many in Egypt say went terribly wrong,” NBC News’ Richard Engel reported from Tahrir Square. “They didn’t have the institutions to impeach him—there were not the political structures in place to do anything else to remove him.”

Tensions culminated on Monday when the military issued a 48-hour ultimatum for Morsi to step down and allow new elections following an “unprecedented” display of public support for his ouster—the government estimates that least 16 people have been killed, and another 200 injured in the demonstrations.

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Morsi rejected the military’s calls in a speech televised overnight Tuesday, and passionately defended his right to rule, focusing on his ascension to power through a democratic election. ”If the price of preserving legitimacy is my blood, I am prepared to pay it,” he said.

Both sides sparred with competing statements posted onto Facebook—the social media site that sparked the beginnings of the initial Arab Spring uprisings—as the deadline came and went Wednesday afternoon, local time. Armored vehicles, tanks and troops soon advanced along the outskirts of the capital as cheers of jubilation rang out in the square.

With the military takeover, Egypt now enters uncertain political territory, creating renewed instability in the Middle East as conflicts rage in nearby Syria, and the United States attempts reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians.

Sisi had been appointed by Morsi but the relationship did not help to ease tensions and suspicions between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohamed Elbaradei

The general and advisers met earlier in the day with Mohamed Elbaradei, the former head of the U.N. Nuclear Agency who returned to Egypt last year and worked hard to ferment democratic change in his native country. Elbaradei knows Obama and many world leaders personally from his work at the U.N. and has served as both a sounding board and mediator during the last tumultuous year of political change.

Mohamed Morsi ousted in Egypt’s second revolution in two years

• President ousted as army suspends constitution 
• Deposed leader ‘being held by authorities in unknown location’
• At least 14 people killed in clashes after announcement

A polarised Egypt is facing the most critical phase of its post-revolutionary life after Egypt’s army ousted the country’s elected president, Mohamed Morsi, and scheduled fresh elections in a what was labelled by the presidency as a “full coup”.

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The chief of the armed forces, General Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, announced that he had suspended the constitution and would nominate the head of the constitutional court, Adli Mansour, as interim president on Thursday. Both presidential and parliamentary elections would follow shortly afterwards and a transitional cabinet would be named.

A statement on the former president’s Twitter and Facebook accounts labelled the military move a “full coup”, after Morsi was officially deposed from office at 7pm.

In the early evening, a presidential aide told the Guardian Morsi was still free, but late on Wednesday night a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman said Morsi was being held by the authorities in an unknown location.

A security official said the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party and the Brotherhood’s deputy chief had been arrested. State media said authorities had issued arrest warrants for 300 other Brotherhood members.

At least 14 people were killed when Morsi opponents and supporters clashed after the army’s announcment, state media and officials said. Eight of those reported dead were in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh Three people were killed and at least 50 wounded in Alexandria, state news agency MENA reported. A further three died in the southern city of Minya, it said.

Sisi strove to paint the coup as the fulfilment of the popular will, following days of vast protests against Morsi’s rule.

“We will build an Egyptian society that is strong and stable, that will not exclude any one of its sons,” he said.

He spoke of his “historic responsibility” in front of a panel of Egyptians representing what was intended to be full spectrum of Egyptian life, including the Coptic pope, the country’s most senior Muslim cleric, and leading secular politician Mohamed ElBaradei.

Symbolically, the panel also included a representative of the Tamarod campaign, the mass movement that inspired the millions-strong protests on Sunday that prompted Morsi’s departure.

Sisi’s televised statement was met by rapturous applause and a spectacular fireworks display at the centre of the anti-Morsi revolt in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The streets of downtown Cairo became a raucous carnival that lasted into the small hours, with many waving flags, blasting horns, and dancing. One or two could be seen drinking in the same streets that four days ago were jammed with frustrated drivers queuing for hours for petrol.

But five miles in east Cairo, the mood could not have differed more. A rally of Morsi supporters booed Sisi’s speech, chanting “Down with military rule” – in scenes that epitomised Egypt’s divisions. While secular Egyptians blame Morsi for autocratic policies that have failed to build consensus, Islamists are furious that Egypt’s first democratically elected president should have been deposed after just a year in office.

F

ireworks burst over opponents of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, July 2, 2013.

Sisi’s statement came several hours after his ultimatum for Morsi to solve the political crisis had passed without agreement. The delay confused all parties, who wondered whether a coup would actually take place. But the creeping presence of the military who set up barricades in parts of the capital where pro-Morsi supporters had gathered, followed by the release of a strongly-worded statement by Morsi’s national security adviser, Essam Haddad, seemed to confirm to both camps that the military was taking a new role in post-revolutionary Egypt. “For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: military coup,” said Haddad.

The momentous events capped a harrowing week for Morsi and his key support base, the Muslim Brotherhood, which had won the presidency in a democratic election held a year ago. Morsi’s support had been steadily whittled away over the past four days, first being abandoned by the military, then the powerful police force, and yesterday the state media.

Earlier in the week, police failed to intervene after the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in east Cairo was besieged for 12 hours and later burnt down. Yesterday, the interior ministry, which runs the police force, confirmed it was backing the military.

While many on the street saw Morsi’s removal as the continuation of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, the ex-president’s Islamist allies viewed it as a coup, and a betrayal of democracy. Thousands of Morsi supporters gathered in the streets to back him, many fearing that his departure would mark a return to the repressive treatment of Islamists under Mubarak.

Last night, the army shut down five Islamist TV channels, while there was factional fighting in Alexandria. State media said last night that three people had been killed in Alexandria. Police also raided the offices of the pan-Arab TV network al-Jazeera in Cairo.

Opponents of Egypt’s Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi celebrate outside the presidential palace in Cairo.

Sisi had spent much of of Wednesday locked in meetings with his key generals and with senior religious and opposition figures, including the opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, the country’s leading Sunni cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Tayeb, and the Coptic pope, Tawadros II. He did not meet Morsi, but had spent four hours with him on Tuesday discussing a power-sharing plan.

The opposition has long maintained that Morsi was never interested in consensus. But in recent days, Morsi repeatedly claimed he was willing to share power with his opponents and, after Sisi’s deadline had passed, again reiterated that he would agree to a national unity government and parliamentary elections within months. But Haddad, Morsi’s chief aide, made clear that the president was in the process of being ousted, and warned of its dire consequences.

“Today only one thing matters,” he wrote in a dramatic Facebook post that he noted would probably be his last in office. “In this day and age no military coup can succeed in the face of sizeable popular force without considerable bloodshed. Who among you is ready to shoulder that blame?” He added: “There are still people in Egypt who believe in their right to make a democratic choice. Hundreds of thousands of them have gathered in support of democracy and the presidency. And they will not leave in the face of this attack.

“To move them, there will have to be violence. It will either come from the army, the police, or the hired mercenaries. Either way there will be considerable bloodshed. And the message will resonate throughout the Muslim world loud and clear: democracy is not for Muslims.”

The gradual nature of Sisi’s actions seemed to confirm the army’s desire to be seen to be answering the will of the people, rather than enacting a unilateral coup.

The head of Egypt’s armed forces, general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, issues a declaration on Wednesday appointing an interim head of state and stating the constitution has been suspended. The general says the armed forces has been calling for national reconciliation for months but Mohamed Morsi and his presidential office ‘failed to respond effectively’. He says a transitional roadmap has been agreed by a range of political groups

source: theguardian

Deadly violence erupts at Egypt rallies : 4 dead including one American *videos*

At least four dead, as many 160 others wounded in street battles between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters in Cairo and Alexandria.

 

Cairo - Thousands of supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi have gathered here as political violence continued to worsen across the country, with at least two people killed in the northern city of Alexandria.

Clashes broke out on Friday between pro- and anti-government protesters in Alexandria’s Sidi Gaber neighbourhood, outside the local headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).

Local health officials said that two people were killed, one of them an American citizen who was stabbed, the other an Egyptian who died from gunshot wounds.

Police said the American was taking photographs of the fighting, but was not believed to be a journalist. Protesters also set fire to the party’s offices.

Violent clashes were reported in several other governorates; at least one person was killed early Friday morning in Sharqiya, in the Nile Delta region, after protesters attacked the FJP offices there.

The rallies in Cairo remained calm, but tensions are clearly running high ahead of nationwide anti-government protests planned for Sunday. On the outskirts of the pro-Morsi rally, rows of men armed with batons and metal rods checked IDs and frisked attendees.

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

“Vigilance is required to ensure we do not slide into civil war,” said Hassan el-Shafei, in remarks carried by state media.

‘Here to defend my voice’

Sunday’s protests, which organisers hope will draw millions of Egyptians to the streets, will demand that Morsi resign and cede power to a transitional government.

The rally on Friday was intended as a preemptive strike, a chance for organisers to show that Morsi still commands majority support.

“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.”

120Capture

The rally was dubbed “legitimacy is a red line,” and demonstrators kept returning to that theme, arguing that the only way to remove the democratically-elected president is through the ballot box. Sunday will mark the end of the first year of Morsi’s 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, manning a stall and selling pro-Morsi gear at the rally.

119Capture

Protesters railed against popular media figures like satirist Bassem Youssef, accusing them of taking money from Western countries and misrepresenting Morsi’s record.

They also mocked a grassroots campaign which claims to have collected signatures from 18 million people demanding Morsi’s resignation, a figure which, if accurate, would overshadow the 13 million votes that brought him to power.

The campaign is called “Tamarod,” or “rebellion,” and hundreds of their supporters gathered across town in Tahrir Square on Friday, waving red cards to symbolise their demand for Morsi’s ouster.

But many of Morsi’s supporters dismiss it as a fraud, a vehicle for former president Hosni Mubarak‘s regime to regain power, and claim to have met people who signed the petition dozens of times. They have launched their own version, naming it “Tagarod,” or “emptiness,” and handed out signature forms at Friday’s rally.

“But you can only sign it once! We will be watching,” one campaigner joked, handing forms to a group of women.

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

Demonstrators were largely supporters of the Brotherhood or of other Islamist parties, like the Building and Development Party, the political wing of the once-banned Gamaa al-Islamiyya. But the rally also attracted a number of people who described themselves as political independents.

“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 attending the protest, who insisted that he “was not an Islamist.”

“And now the opposition, a minority in our country, wants thugs to remove our president.”

Source:
Al Jazeera

Egypt: Pope Tawadros rebukes Morsi over Cathedral clash

Damage caused by clashes outside St Mark’s Cathedral (08/04/13)
The violence was the latest in a spate of clashes between Muslims and Christians in Egypt

 The leader of Egypt’s Coptic Christians has accused the country’s president of “negligence” following deadly clashes outside the main cathedral in Cairo.

Pope Tawadros II said Mohammed Morsi had failed to protect the building, where two people died after being attacked by an angry mob of Muslims.

The remarks were the strongest issued against President Morsi by Pope Tawadros since he took office in 2012.

The weekend clashes between Muslims and Copts were Egypt’s worst in months.

The two people – at least one of whom was a Christian – were killed after attending a funeral for four Christians who died in sectarian violence in Khosous, about 10 miles (15km) north of Cairo, the previous day.

A Muslim was also killed in those clashes, which began after inflammatory symbols were drawn on an Islamic institute, provoking an argument.

The dispute escalated into a gun battle between Christian and Muslim residents, while Christian-owned shops were also attacked.

Coptic Christians, who make up about 10% of the population, have long complained of discrimination and have suffered an increase in attacks by Muslims since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

‘Action not words’

In a telephone interview on the private ONTV channel, Pope Tawadros said Mohammed Morsi had “promised to do everything to protect the cathedral but in reality we don’t see this”.

Pope (file photo)

Pope Tawadros II said violence against Copts was unprecedented

 He said the failure to do so “comes under the category of negligence and poor assessment of events”.

“We need action not only words… There is no action on the ground,” he said, adding that “the Egyptian Church has never been subject to such [attacks] even in the worst ages”.

The violence erupted on Sunday when mourners leaving St Mark’s Cathedral clashed with local residents.

Police fired tear gas to break up the violence. More than 89 people were injured, the state news agency said.

Mourners inside the cathedral had earlier chanted slogans against President Morsi.

Witnesses told local TV stations that the violence started when a mob attacked the Copts as they left the cathedral, pelting them with stones and petrol bombs.

The Christians responded by throwing stones back, the witnesses said, until police arrived and attempted to quell the unrest, firing tear gas into the cathedral compound.

Afterwards, Mr Morsi denounced the violence in a phone call to Pope Tawadros.

“Any attack against the cathedral is like an attack against me personally,” he was reported as saying. He also called for an immediate investigation.

The Islamist Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, posted a statement on its Facebook page stressing its “utter rejection and condemnation of violence”.

 

Egypt Today: Decay and The Rise of Vigilantism

 The 18 days of 2011 were violent, angry and disruptive. But the reasons for those emotions and events lay within the grasp of even the most cynical of “feloul.”[ Protest of salafists to demand the application of Islamic law and denounce the new constitution ] President Mubarak presided over a regime rife with corruption propped up by police brutality. The people, justifiably, exercised their rage. The regime, desperately, exercised violence in the face of their diminishing power. Everyone understood this. Everyone knew what side they were on.

Today’s situation lacks that clarity. Over the weekend, the post-uprising tensions in Egyptian society exploded onto center stage with an alarming penchant for violence. The political arena and actors, so well understood in the first 18 days can no longer be delineated and described. In fact, today’s confusion has retroactively cast doubt on the events of the first 18 days, challenging the dominant narrative. Over the past few days I tried, numerous times, to identify the forces at play today in Egypt. Below is part one of my attempt to make heads of tails of what is occurring in Egypt.

It is no secret that the institutions of the Egyptian state experienced a dramatic decline over the past two years. The police, army, judiciary, bureaucracy and the office of the presidency are viewed with suspicion. The battle for control of these institutions indicates a somewhat Pyrrhic victory for those who will ultimately sit on the charred remains The irrelevance of Morsi and his speech last night coupled with the blatant disregard for his curfew in the canal cities serve as dramatic examples. The result is an aggressive schadenfreude that has risen as the State’s institutions declined. For the people, the State, including Laws and the police, should be dismissed, and if they dare to assert themselves, they should be reminded of their new, subservient place in society.

The decline of the Judiciary deserves special mention. Partly due to the central role it plays in exercising state Power and partly due to the circumstances surrounding its decay.  The Law, and those who interpret it, serves as the final arbiter of Justice. Given that in Egypt, Laws are not interpreted by “your peers” Judges play an even more pivotal role. If Law does not serve justice then it must serve another end. In a dictatorship that other end may be preserving the dictatorship. In today’s end what other end may the Law achieve if not Justice? How can we allow the Law to serve a deposed dictatorship if we already deposed it? How can we allow it to serve a new dictatorship if we risked life and limb for freedom? How can it serve the Centre, Cairo, if the votes from the Provinces brought the President to power? If the people believe that the Judiciary has such ulterior motives than they will oppose the Judiciary.

And no one has opposed the courts better than President Morsi. His constitutional declaration of late January 2012 set the unwelcome precedent that the courts, and the Law, can be intimidated into acquiescence. This last weekend the people of Port Said invoked the President’s precedent when rioting against a perceived injustice of the courts against their townsfolk for a crime of murky origins. This rather complicates the situation of the President, who will presumably discontinue his judicial antics, and now needs the people to respect the decisions of the court. Such naked hypocrisy resulted in a backlash against his speech by the people of Port Said, who now, rightly, do not tolerate that what applies to the President does not apply to them.

Rebuilding institutions requires “legitimate Power.” Morsi and the Islamist movement at large, overestimate their legitimacy. A significant portion of the population (one that disproportionately includes influences from the politics, culture and the economy) believes that the results of the Presidential elections are fraudulent. Even in the event that such results truly represent the electoral outcome Morsi still owes his Presidency to a narrow majority, one that includes many disenfranchised non-Islamists. This, in no way, gives him a democratic mandate for sweeping reform or majoritarian rule. Not to be outdone by arithmetic the Islamists have invoked Divine legitimacy which has angered the religious sensibilities of the Egyptian people. Their stubborn obstinacy against building meaningful consensus, their method of opaque decision making (which tends to happen by non-government actors such as high ranking Brotherhood members) and the lack of avenues for self-expression for the opposition (yes, the opposition, the dissolution of Parliament was also bad for you) means that the opposition feels empowered to obstruct, derail and disrupt any attempt by Morse to govern the country.

While the “elders” of the opposition limit their methods of obstruction to noisy press conferences and a series of legal challenges the “youth” elements have radicalized. The rise of vigilante movements, most famously manifest in the so called Black Block, marks their departure from parliamentary politics (the lack of a parliament makes this easier) and their flirtation with violence. With the continuous decay of the State there is no reason to suppose that these vigilantes will disappear any time soon. In fact, with Morsi’s inability to deliver on what matters most to the Egyptians, the economy, sympathy for these movements will continue to rise as they march under the banner of Social Justice (as vague as that may be).

The combination of a crisis of confidence in the State and its ability to assert itself in the social lives of its citizens, on the one hand, and the democratization of the means of violence that manifests itself in vigilante movements, on the other, create a potent mix, unprecedented for the Modern Egyptian State. The results need not be all negative. For too long governing in Egypt has been an all too centralized affair. Both forces will challenge the axiom of centralized leadership; whether this will result in anarchy or effective federal government remains to be seen.

Written by: Tewfik Cassis :ScoopEmpire