| Coup unravels: Rousing video of President Morsi in detention!

Leaked video captures Morsi in detention ~ MEMO, courtesy Al Watan.

Published by pro-coup Al Watan newspaper, 3 November 2013. Below is the transcript of the video.

Screenshot of Al-Watan's video of imprisoned President Morsi

‘For Egypt to become stable, remain strong, and its children possess their will, just as I used to say we want to produce our food, our medicine and our weapons and therefore possess our will. Israel would be of no value whatsoever should Egypt become like that’

(The coup) is legally a full-fledged crime. Hence, I am the president of the republic according to the existing constitution in the country (words missing), a blow to the institution. It turns upside down all institutional standards and the concept of institutionalism in legislation as well as in formation. We are in a state of a coup. I am a small price for something like this.

God, the Almighty, knows that I’m telling the truth in what I’m saying. What is happening is causing suffering for the country, for the whole of Egypt. (Omitted words.) This is not the time for talking about this matter. It will be when the right time comes. (Words omitted)

In the conflict between us and Israel what is going on is a fiasco. When will Egypt once again return to the situation where there is a separation of powers and where there will be freedom and genuine democracy? What is published in the newspaper is that some of the Arabs living in Jerusalem asked the Israeli authorities to name a street after Rabia, and that the Israeli authorities have fulfilled their demand; that which I have read in the news (then his words are omitted).

Does that mean that Israel is pleased with Rabia or displeased with Rabia (words are omitted). He would always search for a disaster, (incomprehensible words.) Perhaps time will prove that they stand behind this calamity in which we happen to be. I say perhaps, because I’m not absolutely sure, I don’t want to accuse anyone. Yet, what we are going through does of course serve Israel. (It would not please Israel)

For Egypt to become stable, remain strong, and its children possess their will, just as I used to say we want to produce our food, our medicine and our weapons and therefore possess our will. Israel would be of no value whatsoever should Egypt become like that. This Israel has no value whatsoever. Yet, so long as Egypt suffers from anxiety the enemy will benefit. That’s because we are weakening ourselves from within. We move forward a little then backward again. We walk forward a little then retreat. This will (eventually) move on.

Egypt’s generals ask for amnesty from Morsi ~ MEMO.Egyptian soldiers keeping eye on the streetsThe general said that this visit was part of an initiative which involves the military institution officially apologising to the president for all the offensive actions carried out by some of its 222 leaders.A group of generals in the Egyptian army, along with the leadership of a military services branch, have met with ousted President Mohamed Morsi to launch a campaign called the “Initiative of Repentance,” a senior source in the army said.Speaking to the Egyptian social news website Rassd, the source said that the initiative involves the military institution officially apologising to the president for all the offensive actions carried out by some of its 222 leaders.

The source was among the generals who secretly met with Morsi in his prison last week and preferred to remain anonymous. He reiterated that the offensive actions do not reflect the position of the overwhelming majority of the military institution’s leadership.

He said that some of the leaders were exploiting their political positions to maintain sovereignty over the military. These coup leaders, according to the source, reflected a “tainted mental image” about the army.

The initiative, according to the source, is aimed at regaining a “positive mental image” of the military institution by returning it back to carrying out its basic duties, namely securing Egypt and protecting its borders.

Rassd reported the source saying that Morsi welcome the initiative, but insisted that amnesty be given only to those leaders whose “hands were not tainted with the blood of Egyptians and those who did not incite violence.”

Morsi also demanded that the leaders who were involved in the coup on 3 July be prosecuted before military courts.

The source added that Morsi asked the delegation to prepare a vision for the military institution should the army return back to the military bases. The vision, Morsi said, should include details about promoting the army’s combative abilities.

Morsi’s advice was appreciated and the delegation promised to prepare this vision as soon as possible.


Morsi is the strongest, most legitimate person in this farcical trial ~

Abdel Bari Atwan, MEMO.

Abdel Bari AtwanPresident Mohamed Morsi proved in the dock, that he was at least morally stronger than his jailer, Colonel Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Perhaps the military rulers will realise, in the coming days that the presence of the elected president Mohamed Morsi, in the presidency cage would be much more merciful and less costly to them than his presence behind bars or standing in front of the comical courts’ judges. What happened yesterday morning during the short, private opening session is an indicator of this.

The military rulers, along with the Egyptian judicial system, should be the ones actually standing in the defendants’ dock, as well as the official and private media outlets. This regime, an extension of Mubarak’s regime, believed that overthrowing the elected president and putting him, along with most high and low ranking Muslim Brotherhood leaders, behind bars would end the Egyptian crises and restore security, stability and prosperity to the country. What is actually happening is quite the opposite, despite the attempts to cover up and de-fraud at every level.

President Mohamed Morsi proved in the dock, that he was at least morally stronger than his jailer, Colonel Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the country and the leader of the Egyptian army. The ruling Egyptian regime seemed to be uncomfortable dealing with the trial and this situation; not only did they change the venue the day before, but seemed afraid to broadcast the trial live as Hosni Mubarak’s trial by Field Marshal Tantawi had been. They deployed 20,000 soldiers and 1,500 tanks to guard the building, as if they were going to war.

President Morsi has the right to declare, as he did during the first session in court, that he is “the President of the republic” and that those who should be tried were those who overthrew legitimacy, disrupted the people’s will and the rule of the ballot box in the first free presidential elections in Egypt’s history.

He also has the right to question a judiciary that has tried an elected president ousted by a military coup for fabricated crimes. A fair and independent judiciary should refuse to give up its neutrality and independence and oppose its politicisation.

President Morsi did not commit any criminal offenses punishable by law and if a crime was actually committed, the crime was against him and his colleagues because they wouldn’t “kill a fly”. It was their supporters who were killed, tortured and politically arrested, including those who were killed in cold blood in front of the Republican Guard’s headquarters, in Rabaa al-Adawiyya and al-Nahda squares. They were shot by security forces and the army, or crushed to death by tanks and bulldozers.

The charges against President Morsi are fabricated and the trial is purely political. To say that he incited murder is both distasteful and unconvincing. How could he have ordered the killing of demonstrators and protesters in front of his palace when his opponents were on the verge of breaking into the palace to kill him, forcing him to escape from a back door and 8 of the 10 victims were his supporters? How can he stand in the defendants’ dock on charges of incitement to murder, while those who actually murdered i.e. the Minister of Interior, have not been charged with anything, such as Habib el-Adli and his aides? What’s more is that they were the ones who committed massacres in the squares when they forcefully dispersed the protests with live ammunition.

Perhaps the most comical charge President Morsi faces is his conspiring with the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas. Since when has communicating with our resisting brothers become a crime worthy of condemnation and imprisonment? Didn’t President Mubarak’s regime and its figures communicate with Hamas and host its leaders in the most luxurious hotels in Egypt, rolling out the red carpet for them every time they landed at one of Egypt’s airports or crossings? Those of us who followed their trials did not hear of any of them being charged with conspiring with the movement, nor have we heard this mentioned in any of the Palestinian movement’s trials. If collaborating with Hamas is a crime, we must re-try Mubarak, the Arab League, and the old and new leaders of the Egyptian intelligence.

President Morsi is still the legitimate president of Egypt, whether or not we agree with him. If he made mistakes during his term or failed to save the country from crises, then he should be politically tried in the parliamentary and presidential elections, by the people, through the ballot box. His reign only lasted 12 months before the demonstrations, protests, sit-ins and the bullying by his opponents, the supporters of the former regime, who were determined to overthrow his rule and did not give him the opportunity to fix his mistakes or even catch his breath.

Those who deserve to be tried are the individuals who ousted the elected president, sent tanks and bulldozers to crush the peaceful protestors in the Rabaa al-Adawiyya and in front of the Republican Guard headquarters and turned Egypt into a military dictatorship. They took hold of the other’s opinions, silenced the media, and aborted freedom of expression, the most significant achievement of the great Egyptian revolution.

Egypt needs an extremely strong man, embodying a third option, to put an end to this absurdity and restore the country’s prestige and respect for legitimacy. He needs to lay the foundation for a true democracy based on national reconciliation and committed to coexistence and ending segregation. Without this, and in light of the vengeful conflicts we are currently witnessing, we do not think the country will experience stability any time soon.

This is a translation of the Arabic text published in El Shaab Newspaper on 4 October, 2013



| Egypt degenerates: 100 days of pure farce!

100 days of pure farce ~

Dr. Daud Abdullah, MEMO.

It has become an almost established tradition for political analysts to review the first 100 days of any president or administration. This is the case with elected governments as well as those that are unelected. Egypt’s controversial and shadowy military junta is no exception. In its case, it is absolutely necessary to do a thorough appraisal both because of the manner in which it came to power and the consequences of its policies.

On 11 October, Egypt’s de facto military rulers will mark 100 days in office. It is not just political commentators who are fixated with the occasion. Social media activists are also gearing up with plans for various forms of protest. To add a sense of balance and context to the assessment, the rule of the deposed elected president Mohamed Morsi must also be revisited. The overall picture after comparing the two is likely to make very uncomfortable reading for those who openly or tacitly supported the coup.

Since 3 July, more than 6,000 Egyptians have been killed by the army and security forces with over 15,000 injured in the bloody crackdowns and dawn raids, which are still continuing. The Egyptian military is engaged on what can best be described as a war of attrition against its opponents and critics. During this short period, the country seems to have changed beyond recognition socially, economically and politically.

Once a proud beacon of Islamic learning and civilisation, Egyptians are being told today that their religion is backward and a source of retrogression. Those who buck this trend are liable to end up in prison, undergo torture and even lose their lives. On the surface, this appears to be done to placate Egypt’s raucous liberal and secular forces. Now that they have been outfoxed by the army it has become palpably clear to everyone that the sole beneficiaries of the “popular” coup are the military elite.

The facts speak for themselves. Economically, the country has registered losses in excess of 200 billion Egyptian pounds, according to the Coalition in Support of the Legitimacy. Since 3 July, Egypt’s National Railways Authority has revealed that its losses have amounted to 190 million Egyptian pounds as a result of the stoppage of services. By the beginning of September, the respected British magazine The Economist Intelligence Unit‘s liveability survey had, for the first time, placed Egypt last on a list of 140 countries around the world regarding standards of living. Experts predict a deficit in the general budget of around 240 billion Egyptian pounds at the end of the financial year.

Meanwhile, negotiations with the IMF have ground to a halt; international companies which provided employment for tens of thousands of local workers have pulled out of the country, partly in fear and partly in protest against the coup and its grisly human rights record. The textile, automobile and electronic industries have all suffered badly, but the tourism industry is perhaps the sector worst affected by the coup. Several countries have issued warnings to their nationals not to travel to Egypt. The country has suffered a sharp drop in the number of tourists, costing the state millions of dollars in lost revenues.

Deposed President Morsi was no paragon of success. He admitted as much when he told a rally of thousands at Cairo Stadium on 6 October 2102, “What has been achieved is not enough, of course, but what has been achieved by professional standards is about 70 per cent of what we targeted during those 100 days.” His critics claim that his estimate is overblown. During Morsi’s first hundred days in office, the Egyptian Centre for Public Opinion research, Baseera, conducted three opinion polls on presidential job approval ratings. They revealed that Morsi enjoyed a high approval rate, with 78 per cent of respondents happy with his performance, while only 15 per cent disapproved; 7 per cent weren’t sure. In

One opinion poll conducted at the end of Morsi’s first hundred days, respondents were asked if they would re-elect him and 58 per cent said that they would; only 18 per cent said that they wouldn’t, with 24 per cent unsure or whose decision depended on the other candidates. That approval rating of 58 per cent was actually higher than the percentage of votes which won him the presidency. None of these indices apply to the junta because they were not even elected. In retrospect,

Morsi’s fatal error was his controversial constitutional declaration of 22 November 2012, in which he sought to safeguard his decisions from judicial review. This caused his approval rating to drop to 57 per cent, 21 percentage points down from his “100 day” rating. Although this improved slightly to 63 per cent after he made a public u-turn, the damage was already done. He never really recovered. In the end, though, Morsi’s flaws and failures pale into insignificance when compared with the trauma of the past 100 days. The military junta are not the only ones that should be held responsible; the cheer-leaders who clapped and the hangers-on who canvassed to feather their own nests all have questions to answer.

Basic questions, such as: What is the status of Egypt’s tourist industry today? What has the Sisi-led government done to alleviate the suffering of the 16 million Egyptians who work in this sector? After 100 days of blood-letting and carnage can anyone truthfully say that Egypt is a more harmonious and cohesive country, or is it dangerously fractured? Has its international standing improved? Or has it become a pariah on the African continent and among the wider community of nations? Only honest and bold decisions by the junta and those who back them can pull Egypt back from the abyss and turn the 100 days of pure farce into something much more positive for all Egyptians, not just the elite. The countdown has started and the clock is ticking.




| Egypt: Marking 60 Days Since the Bloody Military Coup!

Marking 60 Days Since the Bloody Military Coup ~ The Anti-Coup, Pro-Democracy National Alliance, The Muslim Brotherhood.

Sixty days of brutal, bloody coup have sent Egypt back to the dark pre-revolution days of military madness and police repression, killed innocent unarmed citizens, and ruined the economy.


The Anti-Coup, Pro-Democracy National Alliance presents here a brief analysis of the most important features of the July 3rd coup failure, on the political, economic and human rights levels:

1- The Political Level:
Political losses continue for Egypt, in spite of the campaigns of praise and misinformation conducted by the government and private media opposed to the January 25th revolution.
Egypt’s painful experiences during the past two months have affirmed that the coup has taken it back to times well before January 25th, to military control of all components of the state, just as the country had started on its way towards civilian rule through the election of a civilian president.
In the National Alliance’s view, the military coup dealt with Egyptian issues to the benefit of particular groups, which in the end became apparent as working towards the same goal of resurrecting the Mubarak regime in all its details.
            ⁃          This showed in the control of the cabinet by Mubarak figures, which was the starting point in exposing the coup supporters’ plan.  The cabinet represented the elderly generation instead of the 2011 revolution youth, which affirmed that the objective stated for June 30th – of giving the youth a role – was simply to take advantage of their emotions.
            ⁃          Then the list of new governors increased military control and killed Egyptians’ dreams of Egypt becoming a modern, democratic, civilian state.
            ⁃          Both cabinet and governor appointments also affirmed that what was said about fairness to women and their equality was only to similarly exploit their emotions, the emotions of half the society, who saw their presence in all formal institutions significantly decreased.
            ⁃          This was even more noticeable in the constitutional drafting committee, which saw objections from various segments of society.
            ⁃          Certainly more noticeable was that the drafting committee only served one political current, the leftist secularists, who want the Egyptian people to keep neither their values nor their morals.
In the view of the Alliance, what affirms the failure of the coup is:
            ⁃          the world refusing to admit it was a popular revolt,
            ⁃          the failure of all attempts by the coup regime to beautify this ugly putsch for world public opinion,
            ⁃          the failure to convince the African Union to end the suspension of Egypt’s membership,
            ⁃          and the failure of the coup regime to stop the Nahda Dam where, to the contrary, statements by the coup regime opened the door for Ethiopia to complete this project which threatens Egyptian national security.
            ⁃          Add to that the increasing international stances rejecting the coup, whether by withdrawing investments or reducing delegations, not to mention the warnings issued by various embassies to their citizens regarding the security and political situation in Egypt.
2- The Economic Level:
Under the coup regime, Egypt is facing an extremely dangerous economic situation resulting from the drop in foreign currency reserves, the rise in prices, the collapse of tourism and investment, the increase in unemployment, and the decision of a large number of factories and companies to stop working.
The coup regime has failed to present an economic vision, or a specific vision for monetary policy, through which it can face the increasing economic losses caused by the bloody coup.
The following is an account of the worsening economic situation during the first 60 days of the July 3rd coup regime:
            ⁃          Reduction of the annual raise for government employees to 10% from the 15% approved in the national budget.
            ⁃          Cancellation of the new pay structure for physicians approved by Dr. Hisham Qandil‘s government before the coup.
            ⁃          Cancellation of the new system for bread production, and for improved supplies introduced by Dr. Bassem Ouda, the Minister of Supply, during the last two months of Dr. Mohamed Morsi‘s tenure.
            ⁃          The failure of the coup government to provide supplies at their appointed times, affirming their complete failure to bear their responsibilities towards the Egyptian people.
            ⁃          Borrowing LE81.5 billion from the banks in the form of treasury notes during the first month of the coup.
            ⁃          The reduction of Egypt’s credit rating because of the poor economic situation in the country after the military coup.
            ⁃          The cessation of work on giant national projects initiated by President Mohamed  Morsi, such as the Suez Canal project, or the Qattara Depression project, known as the Golden Triangle.
            ⁃          The cessation of the IMF dialogue with Egypt regarding the loan, due to the lack of international recognition of the coup regime.
            ⁃          The closing in Egypt of offices and factories belonging to large international companies in protest of the coup, and the killing of civilians and unarmed, peaceful protestors.
            ⁃          The large German chemicals company, BASF, closing its offices and factories in Egypt.  They are the largest chemicals company in the world.
            ⁃          The closing by Royal Dutch Shell, the oil giant, of its offices in Egypt, and the limiting of its travel to the country.  They are the largest European oil company.
            ⁃          The closing by General Motors of its auto assembly plants, and all its offices, in Egypt.
            ⁃          Swedish company Electrolux halting production in several factories in Egypt, in which 7000 Egyptian workers are employed.
            ⁃          Cessation of production in the first days of the coup by Czech synthetic textile manufacturer Pegas.
            ⁃          Numerous Turkish textile companies in Egypt halting production, as well as several companies in the food industry, including Yildiz Holding which employs thousands of Egyptian workers.
            ⁃          International tourism companies cancelling reservations for thousands of tourists, as well as halting all tours to Egypt, and closing their offices in Egypt.  Among them are TUI and Thomas Cook.  Also the leading Hungarian tourism company Best Reisen, which declared bankruptcy one month after the July 3rd coup, closing its offices and stranding hundreds of travellers in the Red Sea resorts.
3- The Human Rights Level:
Regarding general freedoms and human rights, Egypt has seen a clear, unprecedented regression in general and specific rights, where anyone who opposes or rejects the coup – regardless of political leaning or ideology – is labeled a terrorist, traitor, foreign agent or ‘immoral’.  A simple comparison shows that the first slogan of the January revolution, freedom, has seen a major setback, or even a deathblow, to the benefit of the putschists.
This also shows in media freedoms, which have disappeared from the current Egyptian scene.  All media personalities and journalists with dissenting views are in detention, are being chased, have been banned, or are missing.  The two months of the coup have seen the closing of numerous satellite channels opposing the coup, with security forces raiding their offices, seizing their equipment, and detaining and abusing their employees, as happened with Al-Jazeera, Al-Aqsa, Al-Quds, Al-Mayadeen, and the Anadolu Agency, not to mention the continued closing of channels opposed to the coup from its very first moments of presence in Egypt, against Egyptian will.  Add to this the targeting of journalists and media workers, leading to the deaths of many, and the detention of dozens of them, accompanied by a shameful silence on the part of the Journalists Syndicate, as well as human rights and media freedom organizations.
Transgressions by the coup on general freedoms and human rights were apparent in:
            ⁃          The detention of, and false accusations against, political figures opposing the military coup.
            ⁃          The killing of thousands and injury of tens of thousands in the massacres at the Republican Guard Officers’ Club, the Memorial, Ramses (the first time), Rabaa Al-Adaweya, Nahda, Ramses (the second time) and others.
            ⁃          The shuttering of satellite channels perceived to oppose the coup, the detention of dozens of journalists and media workers, on implausible trumped up charges, and the targeting of others by sniper fire during the performance of their professional duties.
            ⁃          Violating the sanctity of places of worship by shooting at and burning mosques, in addition to entering them with shoes.
            ⁃          Killing dozens in prisons.
            ⁃          The return of the state security apparatus and the ‘dawn visitors’.
            ⁃          Using internationally banned ammunition as well as military and police helicopters to kill peaceful protestors.
            ⁃          Detaining women and falsely accusing them.
            ⁃          Invading the homes of those opposing the coup, destroying their contents, stealing their money and valuables, among many other shameful actions.
            ⁃          Burning the injured and the bodies of the dead during the clearing of the Rabaa and Al-Nahda sit-ins.
            ⁃          Obstructing the issuance of death certificates for the martyrs who opposed the coup, and refusing to record the correct cause of death.
            ⁃          Hunting rights activists and detaining some detainees’ lawyers.
All this failure, among others, affirms without doubt that this coup will be defeated in the near future. This could not have happened but for the persistence of the true revolutionaries, their steadfastness, their insistence on reclaiming legitimacy, and their siding with the people’s will and the preservation of the gains of the January 25th revolution, the most important of which are freedoms and human rights, protecting them with all peaceful and legal means.
The Alliance calls on the great Egyptian people to continue their peaceful struggle to bring down this coup, to support legitimacy, and to reclaim the will of the people, their freedoms and all their rights.
The Anti-Coup, Pro-Democracy National Alliance
Cairo: September 3 , 2013



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| Egypt Bloodbath: Rabaa and Nahda give birth to new victory sign!

Rabaa and Nahda give birth to new victory sign ~ Motasem A. Dalloul, MEMO.

Rabaa SignA sign of a hand with four fingers raised with the thumb closed is fast spreading as a profile picture among Facebook and Twitter users who reject the military coup in Egypt.


This sign became common after the dispersal the pro-Morsi supporters in the two protest camps, Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda Squares, in Cairo last Wednesday.

Administrators of several anti-coup web pages have called for all Facebook and Twitter users to use this sign to show their solidarity with the victims of the crackdown after more than one thousand protesters were killed and several thousands injured.

The origin of this sign, as many activists on social media have confirmed, is Turkey, which is the only country, along with Qatar, that officially and popularly oppose the military coup in Egypt. Its Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, strongly criticised the coup and the brutal massacres that were perpetrated in an attempt to suppress voices of dissent and opposition.

Initially, the sign was raised by several Turkish footballers in dug-outs after scoring goals. They said that this is a sign to show solidarity with the victims killed in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square. The first player, it is said, who raised it is Emre Belözoglu. Supporters at various stadia and Turks who took to the streets in solidarity with the Egyptians soon began to raise the sign.

During a speech delivered on August 17 to mark the launch of an urban renovation project in Bursa, Prime Minister Erdogan saluted the crowds several times with this sign. From there on, the sign was adopted by international anti-coup activists.

Those activists called for all anti-coup Facebook and Twitter users to use it to demonstrate the scale of opposition to the military coup both within Egypt and abroad.


Rabaa SisiSome social media users have manipulated the Rabaa sign


Many activists now use the sign carrying a photo of Erdogan as their profile photo. Indeed some have added the sign to their own photos such as the prominent Saudi scholar, Sheikh Salman al-Awda, who is considered one of the main critics for the Saudi regime. Al-Awda has at least 1.3 million likes on his Facebook page and 3.4 million followers on Twitter.

In fact, no one has yet spoken about why the Turkish footballers chose this sign, but the reason may be the close convergence between the pronunciation of number four (Arbaa) and the name Rabaa in Arabic.

Erdogan, it is said expected that this sign would replace the traditional ‘V’ sign to represent both victory and solidarity.



| Egypt Military Crackdown: What is an Egyptian human life worth?

Egypt Military Crackdown: What is an Egyptian human life worth? ~ Hanine Hassan, MEMO.

Egypt Protest

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Egyptians have been killed in recent days as the security services crackdown on the anti-coup protests

Prior to the 14 August clashes, the two main protest sites, al-Nahda and Rabaa al-Adawiya, were densely populated with women, children, and men who have been staging a 47 days-long peaceful sit-in to protest the removal of President Mohammed Morsy. Both sit-ins would at certain moments have a gathering of at least 115,000 people. On July 31, the Egyptian cabinet authorized the interior minister to “take all necessary measures to face these dangers and put an end to them within the framework of the constitution and the law.” More than 40 international and national human rights organizations have warned the Egyptian Authorities not to use abusive and excessive force in the dispersal of protesters as Egypt’s riot police have consistently responded with excessive and unlawful lethal force in dispersing demonstrations and have showed insufficient respect to protecting the right to life.


This warning resulted from previous massacres committed by the Egyptian Armed Forces and Security Forces against peaceful protesters just a few weeks before. On 8 July, 51 people were killed when lethal force was used on protesters gathered outside the Officer’s club, followed by another massacre on 27 July when 74 people were killed, many shot in the head and chest.

On July 19, the EuroMid Observer for Human Rights issued a statement, signed by 11 international human rights organizations, demanding the Egyptian Authorities to protect human lives , emphasizing that “Egyptian security forces and the army are responsible for protecting all protestors, including both supporters and opponents of the deposed president. However, instead, a serious escalation in human rights violations – such as extrajudicial killings; arbitrary arrests; excessive use of force; and deprivation of freedoms of association, speech and expression – has been documented, targeting those who oppose the military’s ouster of President Morsi. The Egyptian authorities have not only perpetrated such acts, but also turned a blind eye to their practice by others”1.

As the Egyptian cabinet was considering the pro-Morsi sit-ins a “threat to national security”, human rights organizations and governments around the world kept urging the Egyptian Armed Forces to show restraint, to seek for a peaceful dispersal of the sit-ins and to avoid the escalation of violence.

Yet Egypt has been ruled since its independence by the generals who have since then committed severe human rights violations, showing little respect to human rights and dignity and acting with blatant disregard for human life.

Violating the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association of the protestors

The violence started around 6.30 a.m. on Wednesday 14 August as Central Security Forces (riot police) backed by helicopters and snipers, surrounded both sit-ins and fired tear gas from three different entries while heavy semi-automatic bursts of gunfire were heard. Eyewitnesses’ reports and video footage showed the sounds of successive gun shots and men in the crowd falling to the ground right away, which means that security forces were using live gunfire as snipers were firing tear gas and live ammunition from rooftops and helicopters. EuroMid researcher counted 42 victims in the first hour. Security forces shredded through the labyrinthine networks of tents and tarpaulin shacks, setting them on fire, with women and children still inside of them, causing many casualties and injuries. An eyewitness told EuroMid “a mother and her baby were crushed to death inside the tent”, as severe chaos rose among the bloodshed.

The Egyptian Authorities have blatantly violated the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association of the protestors, which states that: “Everyone has the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association […] and these rights are essential components of democracy”.

Responses to demonstrations and sit-ins must comply with international standards, even when some participants err by resorting to violence, including the use of firearms. International standards forbid the excessive use of lethal force, and do not justify the intentional murder of protestors by police or military snipers. The use of force must not exceed what is required to prevent the use of violence. Firing live ammunition at crowds is intolerable and should be considered a criminal act.

Extrajudicial executions

The Egyptian Security Forces had announced one safe corridor from which protesters could exit the Rabaa sit-in parallel to Tayaran Street. Protestors and eyewitnesses stated that the security forces deliberately targeted protesters who were using the safe corridor, and attacked physically and verbally protestors as they were trying to escape. Men were executed on the spot while walking with their hands above their heads. The police unlawfully killed protesters who were clearly not engaged in any form of violence.

This was clearly not an attempt to break-up a peaceful sit-in, but a huge military operation against unarmed civilians. The use of deadly fire on such a scale and the killing of so many by the security forces prove that there was an intention to kill with no regard for people’s lives.

Within less than 3 hours, the Field Hospital itself and the adjacent halls were completely full with corpses and injured protesters. The injuries varied from birdshots to live bullets, burns and asphyxiation. Medical staff reported that the “majority of the bullet injuries were to the head, neck, and chest, as well that the angle of gunshot wounds indicated they were shot from above, as some of the deaths were judged to be targeted killings, as the position of the shots could only result in death”.

The Egyptian Security Forces are guilty of extrajudicial executions, which are acts outside the realm of rule of law and hence deprive the targeted individual(s) of their right to life, as well as the right to defend themselves against charges against them. The killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process is an unlawful punishment that violates the Declaration of Human Rights.

But who will hold the Egyptian Forces accountable? They have not opened or announced any investigation into any of those cases, which is contrary to the provisions of Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, which state the need to investigate cases of unlawful killings and that the “purpose of the investigation shall be to determine the cause, manner and time of death, the person responsible, and any pattern or practice which may have brought about that death,” and that “the body of the deceased person shall not be disposed of until an adequate autopsy is conducted by a physician”.

But as death tolls rose, the Egyptian authorities attempted to cover up the numbers of the massacre. The police are refusing to register the cause of death as murder and push families to list the cause as accidents or suicide. The EuroMid researcher was shown official certificates of death were the cause of death was not mentioned.

Places designated for the sole protection of civilians, such as hospital zones, should not be the object of military operations

Additionally, the Egyptian Security Forces imposed a siege on the Rabaa Field Hospital, preventing ambulances from coming through from the very beginning of the violent crackdown. At least one ambulance medic was shot in the head. Snipers were targeting anyone coming in and out of the hospital. It is a criminal act to deliberately attack a hospital or other medical units, whether civilian or military. Medical personnel in general may not be attacked.

According to the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, when whenever the use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall ensure that assistance and medical aid are rendered to any injured or affected persons at the earliest possible moment. This obligation was violated by Egyptian Forces, specifically by imposing a siege on the Field Hospital, and blocking its entrance, and eventually setting it on fire.

Unlawful use of teargas

Rules under international customary law ban the use of certain weapons as an instrument to contain assemblies. Central Security Forces (riot police), backed by the Egyptian Army, fired teargas canisters and gas bombs directly at the densely populated sit-ins, causing severe cases of asphyxiation and injuries among women, children and elderly. Eyewitnesses reported that as a result of the excessive use of teargas, the stampede rushed forward, and some people were crushed to death. It appears that security forces firing tear gas at the stampeding protesters exacerbated the situation, as people could not see a safe passage and may have been the cause of some of the deaths.

No respect to Human Life Right and Dignity

The Egyptian authorities may decide, in accordance to national law, to disperse a demonstration, they are bound to comply with a series of obligations, namely, they should respect and protect the life and security of all personas. The Egyptian Security Forces have clearly failed in safeguarding Egyptian lives.

Considering the evidence in the case of Egypt, security agents used lethal force when it was not necessary to protect lives or prevent serious injury and hence clearly violated the international law and standards. They have used live ammunition at crowds; they have extrajudicially killed dozens; they have used excessive teargas, resulting in some people crushed to death and hundreds asphyxiated; they have targeted medical personnel, setting a hospital on fire, and they have not spared women and children. Men were executed on the spot while walking with their hands above their heads. More than 700 have been victims of arbitrary arrests and at least 1500 are missing until this moment.

While human rights organizations are overwhelmed with the magnitude of the Rabaa massacre, a new one followed just 3 days later. Hours after Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah El Sissi urged the Muslim Brotherhood to pursue dialogue instead of “terrorism,” 52 prisoners were killed while being transported to a prison outside Cairo. The Egyptian Security Forces are prohibiting human rights organizations and journalists from investigating this new incident. Egyptian security forces are guilty of a pattern of excessive and unwarranted lethal force, which have led to an unlawful mass massacre, unprecedented in modern Egyptian history.

On 15 August, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stated that “the number of people killed or injured, even according to the government’s figures, point to an excessive, even extreme, use of force against demonstrators. There must be an independent, impartial, effective and credible investigation of the conduct of the security forces. Anyone found guilty of wrongdoing should be held to account” she said.

Since the deposal of President Morsy on July 3, at least 1500 people have been killed in Egypt as a result of the erupted violence. But who will investigate these violations of national and International laws? Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, on Egyptian TV, defended and justified the clearing as “necessary to restore the security of Egyptians” and praised the Ministry of Interior and police for showing “restraint to the maximum level”. While Egyptians rose in January 25 to put a halt to all these violations, it is clear, one massacre after the other, that the new military-installed regime does not appear to be interested in safeguarding Egyptian human rights. The path to democracy has vanished under the bloody boots of the army.

Hanine Hassan is a Researcher in Human Rights violations and doctoral student studying aspects of mental torture and humiliation under occupation. She tweets at @hanine09.


Egyptian authorities must protect human rights and hold violators to account



| Pharaoh’s revenge as Hamas reels from Egyptian crackdown on Gaza tunnels!

Hamas reeling from Egyptian crackdown on Gaza tunnels ~ Nidal al-Mughrabi, GAZA, Reuters.

(Reuters) – Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are reeling from another devastating blockade but this time they are blaming Egypt, the neighboring Arab power they once hoped would end their isolation, rather than their old foe Israel.

In a few weeks of digging, dynamiting and drenching, Cairo’s troops have destroyed many of the smuggling tunnels that ran under the Egypt-Gaza border and which had provided the cramped coastal enclave with commercial goods as well as weaponry.

The Islamist Hamas government, which taxes much of the traffic through the underground passages, has been hit hard by the losses. Ordinary Palestinians, many of them dependent on U.N. aid handouts, have seen prices for staple goods skyrocket.

“There is a difficult humanitarian situation in Gaza because of the Egyptian measures on the borders,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. “Most of the tunnels were demolished and the few that remain open are paralysed.”

He likened the crisis to 2007, when Israel, responding to the Hamas takeover of Gaza in a brief civil war with Western-backed Palestinian rivals, clamped down on the territory.

Israel still maintains a strict control of all imports into Gaza to prevent arms reaching Hamas, which refuses to recognize the Jewish state and has often clashed with it. Under international accords, merchandise cannot be imported via Egypt.

Cairo mobilized against the tunnels after jihadi militants in the Egyptian Sinai desert killed 16 of its soldiers a year ago. Egypt said some of the gunmen had slipped into Sinai from nearby Gaza, an accusation denied by Hamas.

The tunnel crackdown has gathered pace since the Egyptian military removed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi from power this month. Mursi’s short-lived rule had already disappointed Hamas, since despite their shared ideology he appeared in no rush to open the Gaza border.

With Mursi now gone, Hamas openly despairs – not least as it has also parted ways with insurgency-hit Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who had long hosted the Palestinian faction’s foreign headquarters, and lost key funding from Damascus’s ally Iran.


Ala Al-Rafati, the Hamas economy minister, said tunnel closures since June had cost Gaza around $230 million – around a tenth of the GDP of the territory, whose 1.7 million residents suffer more than 30 percent unemployment.

“The continued restrictions threaten to bring construction projects to a complete halt,” he said, referring to cement that has been brought through the tunnels, along with everything from foodstuffs to electrical appliances to the occasional car.

An Egyptian official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said the anti-tunnel campaign was only for security needs: “There are elements that use these tunnels to inflict harm on Egyptian and Palestinians on both sides of the border.”

Ehud Yaari, a Middle East analyst from Israel who has studied the Sinai situation in depth, said that while Egypt had stemmed the flow of weapons into Gaza, it was permitting a measured flow of commercial goods to prevent massive shortfalls.

“When the Egyptians felt there was a shortage of fuel in Gaza, they allowed certain tunnels that carry fuel in to operate for a few days. They are very sensitive to the situation inside Gaza,” Yaari said – an observation the Egyptian official declined to confirm or deny.

A diplomat who monitors Gaza agreed that the tunnel closures posed a strategic setback to Hamas’s rocket arsenal, which was targeted in an aerial blitz by Israel last November.

Though Hamas has largely observed an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire since then, and kept smaller Gaza factions to the deal as well, the diplomat, who asked not to be identified, predicted that the Islamists would redouble local production of weaponry and try to circumvent the tunnel closures.

“Longer, deeper and well-hidden tunnels could be one of those ways,” he said.

Abu Zuhri said Hamas’s first concern was providing for the Palestinians’ day-to-day needs.

“We are capable of creating alternatives to contend with any crisis,” he said. “The ongoing closure of tunnels without making an alternative is practically strangling Gaza.”

Hamas has repeatedly but fruitlessly urged Egypt to allow goods to enter through a land corridor. Indeed, at Rafah, the sole passenger terminal on the border, Egypt was on Sunday restricting passage to compassionate cases only. Even that was an improvement on frequent periods in which Rafah was shuttered.

“We are aware of the humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip, and Rafah crossing opens for those who need to travel,” the Egyptian official said. “We want people in Gaza to be assured Egypt will never abandon their side and will always be a major supporter of the Palestinian national cause.”

(Editing by Dan Williams/Mark Heinrich)


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English: Smuggling Tunnel, Rafah, Gaza Strip

English: Smuggling Tunnel, Rafah, Gaza Strip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


| The current conflict is between democracy, governance, and the military coup; not the Brotherhood and the opposition!

The current conflict is between democracy, governance, and the military coup; not the Brotherhood and the opposition ~  Tariq Al-Bishri, MEMO.

Tarek Al Bishry is an Egyptian thinker and Judge, considered one of Egypt’s top legal minds. He was born in Cairo on November 1, 1933. His grandfather, Salim Al Bishry, was shaykh of Al Azhar from 1900–1904 and 1909-1916. His father, ‘Abd al-Fattah Al Bishry, was president of the Egyptian Court of Appeal until his death in 1951.

On February 15, 2011 Al Bishry was appointed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to head the committee set up to propose constitutional changes in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

Al Bishry was a secular leftist but became a prominent “moderate Islamic” political thinker, which gained him respect as a bridge between the movements.

Tariq Al-Bishri
‘The 2012 constitution, which was disabled by the July 3 2013 coup, gives the ministry supported by the parliament almost full authority in policy-making and the management of the country’s affairs, far more than the president’s powers’

The matter at hand during this difficult time, which began with the events on June 30 2013 and culminated in a military coup on July 3 2013, is not the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and whether or not they will remain in power. It is in fact a matter of the democratic constitutional system which was a result of the January 25 revolution, and whether Egypt will preserve this system or if it will nip it in the bud, replacing it with the military coup that put Egypt under a new dictatorship that will last for decades to come.

The observation of events since July 3 indicates that we are facing an action carried out by the Armed Forces leadership and announced by the Commander in Chief and the Minister of Defence after a political meeting with some religious and political figures they had chosen to support. They announced the disablement of the constitution agreed upon by the Egyptian people and received 63.6 per cent of votes in a free and fair polling. Moreover, an interim president of Egypt was appointed, while the constitutional president elected in the fair and free presidential elections carried out by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, is isolated. The coup leader gave the appointed interim president the authority to issue constitutional declarations, and this is in effect for an indefinite period of time by a ministry that has not yet been formed and has decided to arrest the president. We have become a country without a constitution or recognised ruling system.

The question at hand is; what was the military coup if it wasn’t actually a military coup?

It has been said that the matter was about overthrowing the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, but the parliamentary elections, in accordance with the new constitution, were on the verge of being held. They were scheduled to take place at the beginning of June if it weren’t for the opposition’s call to invalidate the decision for elections, which was accepted by the court on grounds of formalities. However, they seemed legal except for some details concerning the electoral law, and even these obstacles were on the verge of being resolved and becoming part of the law, and the elections were close to being held. Moreover, it cannot be said that the Brotherhood would’ve taken control of the state’s agencies and institutions to ensure the results of the elections would be in their favour, because the facts of the coup that recently occurred prove that the state’s administration and security devices were not under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood no matter how hard they tried.

The significance of a non-Brotherhood majority in the upcoming parliament, which is expected due to the decreased popularity of the Brotherhood after coming into office (at the height of their popularity in late 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood had less than 40 per cent of the parliamentary seats and the president, a Brotherhood candidate, received 25 per cent of the votes in the first round and only 51.7 per cent of the votes in the second round against him and Ahmed Shafik) is that their decreased popularity in the upcoming elections would mean that the ministry would be formed without them, or that they would not have the majority vote.

The 2012 constitution, which was disabled by the July 3 2013 coup, gives the ministry supported by the parliament almost full authority in policy-making and the management of the country’s affairs, far more than the president’s powers. Moreover, this constitution dictates that the ministry overrules the president regarding the issuance of resolutions.

It was all on the verge of being put into effect in accordance with the constitution and sound constitutional procedures, but it was not. Moreover, the leaders of the armed forces moved to declare the suspension of the constitution and the country is, once again, in a state of governance that is neither constitutional nor democratic.

It may be said that the action of the Armed Forces leadership was a result of the people’s movement that took place on June 30, and that the movement was similar to that of the January 25 2011 revolution. This comparison is corrupt and untrue because the movement of the people on January 25 was a unified political action agreed upon by the people with one demand; the removal of Hosni Mubarak and his supporters from government and the establishment of a democratic system, while restoring the people’s liberties. Hence, with this unified demand, the Armed Forces had the right to take action in response to the people’s undisputed consensus.

As for now, the movement on June 30 2013 was an action divided among the masses gathered in Tahrir Square who opposed the government of the elected president, and the masses gathered in Rabaa Adaweya Square who supported the current elected president and his ministry and demanded he remain in power. This divided action between two different groups with opposing goals and demands can only be resolved through elections in accordance with the constitution. There is no justification for the Armed Forces to intervene and resolve the issue in favour of one side or the other, as this would be considered a partisan act in which it would support one political party over the other, and the Armed Forces is prohibited from engaging in politics. Such action would be far from the people’s interests and the preservation of national security, rather being biased towards one party over another and towards internal policies over others, which is be considered a coup.

At the moment we are not facing a battle between the Muslim Brotherhood in power and their opponents, because this battle could have been resolved in accordance with the 2012 constitution through parliamentary elections and what it will result in, including a ministerial formation that reflects the people’s true support for each of the feuding groups.

We are, however, facing a battle concerning democracy and the constitution, which relapsed due to the coup carried out by the Armed Forces leadership. This leadership took advantage of the popular opposition against the Muslim Brotherhood, and drove them to support it in the battle of killing the spirit of the January 25 2011 revolution, along with constitutional democracy, and to take us back to the brutal totalitarian regime.

I believe that the armed forces themselves, its men and people, are innocent of this, because they took to the streets based on orders from their leaders and took control of the country’s facilities, not to carry out a military coup, but to secure the facilities and the group of Egyptians who were expected to take action on June 30 in order for them not to be infiltrated with vandals. However, their leader took advantage of this action and gave it other political implications related to demolishment of the constitutional democratic system the Egyptians built. However, the leaders of the coup did not realize that by disabling the constitution and dismissing the President they brought down the ministry, whose leader would possess the legitimate authority of making orders.

The people must realize that their present quest does not concern the restoration of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule, but the defence of the constitution and the democratic system. Moreover, they must make a political choice, not between supporting the Muslim Brotherhood or their opponents, but between defending democracy and supporting a dictatorship.

And to those who are now seeking to bridge the gap between the points of view, I have been asked by many to address this matter and contribute to it, and I say we are facing a dilemma, which is the fact that it is almost impossible for those who resort to a military coup to abandon it because their personal fate has become linked to the fate of the coup. Furthermore, to those who want to give up some constitutional democratic matter to avoid a physical coup, I say that this will create a dangerous constitutional precedent that will always threaten the democratic system, and creates the potential for forces to take action at any time to impose any of its demands in light of a political crisis, which was experienced by other countries, such as Turkey, Latin America, and Africa for decades.

May God save Egypt from this fate.


The author is an Egyptian constitutional expert. This article is a translation of the Arabic text which appeared in Shorouk Newspaper on 10 July, 2013


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| Democracy Defense Front Statement on the Legal Status of the Coup in Egypt!

Democracy Defense Front Statement on the Legal Status of the Coup in Egypt ~ Ikhwan Web, The Muslim Brotherhood.

On July 3, 2013 Egypt’s army commander, the Defense Minister, mounted a full-fledged coup d’état against the legitimate elected President of Egypt and suspended the Constitution endorsed by popular referendum on December 25, 2012.

We declare illegal, null and void all decrees issued and actions taken by the Defense Minister, and say as follows:

(1) The Elected President of Egypt, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, did not resign nor transfer any of his powers to any person or entity, including the Defense Minister, who was appointed by the President himself.

(2) Announcing the military coup, the Defense Minister also suspended the Egyptian Constitution approved by the Egyptian people in 2012 in a most credible, fair and free referendum, although this Constitution itself is the legal basis and source of the Defense Minister’s legitimacy, and does not allow any authority to suspend, repeal or abolish any of its provisions.

(3) The Defense Minister appointed Judge Adli Mansour, Chief Justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, as the country’s president, in an unprecedented move where a minister “appoints” a President of State.

(4) All Constitutional Court judges, including judge Adli Mansour, were appointed by the President of the Republic according to a Mubarak-era law. Hence, the appointment of Judge Adli Mansour as President by the Defense Minister is a manifest violation of the Constitution and legal provisions. The decree was issued by someone who had no authority to do so, to appoint as President someone who had no right to take that position.

(5) The Defense Minister’s decree to suspend the Constitution is null and void. Therefore the constitutional situation remains as it were. The elected legitimate president remains unchanged and those who mounted the coup remain outside the law and the Constitution.

Finally, the Democracy Defense Front calls on all states as well as international and regional organizations and all the free world not to deal with the illegitimate coup government, and to stand firm with the Egyptian people in their quest to regain their democracy and their Constitution.

God bless Egypt – free and civilian democracy

Democracy Defense Front

July, 5th 2013

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| What Next? For Egyptians will not forget …

The Egyptians will not forget … ~

Motasem A Dalloul, MEMO. 

The military coup in Egypt had a number of results, the most difficult of which for a nascent democracy is the return of the military to the political scene. It created events which the people of Egypt will not forget in a hurry:

  • The Egyptians will not forget the image of their first freely-elected president being ousted after only one year in office by a coalition of his political opponents, the Christian minority and the army. This was blessed by the democratic West and other states.
  • They will not forget that the man charged with forming an interim government, Mohamed ElBaradei, had shoes thrown at him post-January 25th.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that journalists insulted, not criticised, the freely-elected president continuously for a year but he did not have them arrested, nor did he close-down any of their media outlets. His opponents, however, who claim to uphold freedom of speech, have closed TV stations opposing the coup and arrested journalists.
  • They will not forget that during the year of the Islamist government not one citizen was arrested without a court order, whereas the president himself, as well as his aides and members of his party, have been detained by the supposedly freedom loving groups behind the coup.
  • They will not forget that party offices were stormed, looted and set on fire as the president and his party were accused of damaging the country.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that supporters of the president on the streets were killed in their dozens and yet were accused of killing others.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that during the mass protest which led to a coup against the freely elected president more than 100 cases of sexual harassment of women and rape were reported. Human rights organisations have condemned this almost reluctantly and none of the mass media have had exclusive interviews with the victims as they did during the January 25 Revolution.
  • They will not forget that they dismissed journalists sympathetic to Mubarak in 2011 and yet the same journalists are icons of the coup.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that Arab states imposed embargoes on Egypt because it elected an Islamist president and when that president was ousted they cheered and sent the coup culprits cash and oil.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that the so-called champions of democracy in the West sat idly by while democracy was slaughtered in their country. Clearly, the criterion for their support is the degree of loyalty to Western neo-colonialism.
  • They will not forget that the Egyptian army‘s loyalty is not to the state, its freedom or its people’s interests, but to the party, including foreign states, which pays the most for its stained honour.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that their judiciary is neither independent nor clean, with judges and officials who are puppets in the hands of the army. The General Prosecutor, whose resignation was a demand of January 25th, was returned to his position by the military coup.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that when they elected their president in a free and fair democratic election the people of occupied Palestine cheered while the Israeli occupiers were upset; when the president was ousted by the military coup, occupied Palestinians felt great sadness and the Israeli occupation felt great joy.

This list is not the definitive version. History will record that this coup is the worst act of many in the black record of the Egyptian army, blotting out as it did the freedom of democracy in the country, and undermining its value.


What’s next for Egypt? ~

Amelia Smith

It’s hard to keep up with the latest developments in Egypt. Last night Tweeters gave second by second updates of the events leading up to the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, who was democratically elected in Egypt’s first free and fair elections a year ago.

On Monday the military declared a 48-hour deadline to Morsi, urging him to meet the people’s demands otherwise they would implement their own roadmap for the future of Egypt. Many were left to speculate as to the exact nature of their intentions.

In response, Morsi offered to share power with his opponents, agreed to parliamentary elections, a national unity government, a national dialogue and a panel to amend the much debated constitution. But by 7pm Wednesday he had been officially ousted, a move announced by military officer General Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi.

Green neon lights projected onto a government building in Tahrir Square read ‘Game Over.’ Crowds of opposition supporters waved the Egyptian flag, whilst fireworks exploded overhead and soldiers lined the banks of the Nile, in preparation to take their place in the new Egypt.

The army raised barbed wire and barriers around the barracks where Morsi worked, and imposed a travel ban restricting his movement. He is currently under house arrest at the Presidential Guard’s club.

That Morsi was unpopular, there is no doubt. The list of charges against him included his failure to lift Egypt out of a deepening political crisis, stealing too much power for the Muslim Brotherhood and trying to push through an Islamist backed constitution.

But pro-Morsi protests in Nasr City show that he still has tens of thousands of supporters. There, demonstrators shouted “down with military rule,” angry that he should leave after serving just one year of his total four-year term, fearful that what Essam Haddad has called a “military coup” will usher in a new era of repression for Islamists.

Despite this, al-Sisi has suspended the constitution and selected Adli Mansour, head of the constitutional court as of two days earlier, as the interim president. Al-Sisi has promised presidential and parliamentary elections, and a transitional cabinet.

Manour’s government will allegedly be “inclusive of all political factions.” But whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood will be allowed to play a role in politics post July 2013, or if the whole party will be marginalised as a result of Morsi’s mistakes and early ouster, is unclear.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters have already been burnt to the ground, with no protection from the police, and pro-Muslim Brotherhood TV channels closed. An arrest warrant for 300 members has been issued.

Some on the list, like Khairat al-Shater, weren’t even part of Morsi’s government. Others, such as Morsi himself, were let out of prison by their fans during the January 2011 revolution, but may well be heading back there on the grounds that their breaking free was illegal.

Ahmed Shafiq – a member of the ‘deep state’ who was pitted against Morsi in last year’s election – has just released a video declaring his imminent return, that “there is no room for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt any more” and that “enabling Muslim Brotherhood rule was a fatal mistake.”

As for military, their rule for five months last year following the downfall of Mubarak was once the focus of heavy criticism in Egypt, and Morsi’s ability to distance himself from their power by removing important generals has long been cited as one of his main achievements.

A recent New York Times article by Ben Hubbard summed up their standing well when he said, “The removal underlined the armed forces’ status as Egypt’s most powerful institution since the coup six decades ago that toppled King Farouq and led to the rise of Gamal Abdel Nasser.”

They are the largest army in the Middle East at 450,000 troops, largely made up of young conscripts. Many of the rest are elite officers who have their own hospitals, clubs and parks bank rolled by the state.

Of course, the events in Tahrir Square are already having reverberations across the Middle East. Tunisian opposition activists have created their own Tamarod movement and are attempting to rally support behind a petition in opposition to their own democratically elected Islamist government, Al-Nahda, though their signatures are nowhere near the size of Egypt’s.

Like Egypt, they blame the government for not dragging the country out of economic misery the country plunged into when former President Zine Al Abidine Ali was swept away.

Whilst Russia and China have supported Morsi’s ouster; some officials from the US and the European Union have spoken out about the removal of a democratically elected government. But the US has not announced it will pull the plug on millions of pounds worth of aid it hands over to Egypt each year.

Needless to say, the protests have challenged the legitimacy of free and fair elections. Who’s to say the next President will make it more than six months before he’s toppled, and the one after longer than three?


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| Voices from Cairo’s streets: military action splits public opinion!

Voices from Cairo’s streets: military action splits public opinion

    • ~ Interviews by The Guardian.      
    • Nour Zakaria
      Photograph: Holly Pickett for the Guardian

      Nour Zakaria 24
      University graduate

      I am here to support the legitimacy of President Morsi, because if we do not support him the country will descend into chaos. I want to prove to the world that we are not barbarians, that we believe in democracy and in a demo­cracy you don’t do things this way.

      This was a well-planned conspiracy, made with the help of the former regime, the military and a corrupt Egyptian media. If Morsi is forced to leave the palace, we will remain here and the cycle of street protests will become a permanent fixture in Egyptian life. I was never with Hosni Mubarak, but I did not participate in the last protests.

      This time I slipped away from home. Nobody saw me leave. This is a matter of principle.

      Lama Omar, 26
      Human resources supervisor

      Lama Omar

    • Photograph: Holly Pickett for the GuardianThe Muslim Brotherhood is not a democracy at all. All its actions were very, very bad. He was never going to leave his office. Morsi had already destroyed much of the country in one year and what would have happened, God only knows.

      I was not with the first protest until Omar Suleiman [the former intelligence chief] made the announcement that Mubarak was gone. But this one I have been with from the bottom of my heart.

      I am very, very optimistic. I am very proud of my nation and for all of us. My home is near Tahrir Square, and I heard the noise of the celebrations last night. It was a thrilling night for everyone. Something I will always remember.

      Asmaa Fathi, 30, and her daughters Dima, 11, Imam seven, and son, Abdullah, three

      Asmaa Fathi

    • Photograph: Holly Pickett for the GuardianWe came here to celebrate with all Egyptians. I was not enthused to vote last time, not for Morsi or for anybody else. This time it is different. So long as we have strong armed forces, the country will be strong and we will be strong.

      Morsi made the days of Mubarak look much better … all I care about now is for my children to live well. I want a good education for them. I want them to have good lives. The security in Egypt gives us peace of mind. Ramadan starts soon and we will be coming home after dawn prayers. We can do so in comfort and safety now.

      Mohammed Hani, 22

      Mohammed Hani

    • Photograph: Holly Pickett for the GuardianEverybody’s reaction here in Rabaa – the whole square – was one of complete shock. It was totally unexpected. No one saw it coming. This was a coup against the legitimate office of the presidency. They have crossed a red line.
      The army is a patriotic institution and would never do such a thing. Only one person was responsible for what ­happened: Abdel Fatah al-Sisi [the chief of the army].

      What happened is proof to us that we were on the right path and that we had given everybody their full rights. The media had been very open, and the press was criticised the whole time. He [Morsi] had never closed down media outlets, like what happened under military orders on Wednesday night. We were applying democracy correctly.

      We will stay on the streets till all our demands are met. We will not budge.

      Osama Yousef, 45

      Osama Yousef

    • Photograph: Holly Pickett for the GuardianThis revolution was stronger than the first because it was a fight for Egyptian identity. We have said to the world who Egyptians are and what we stand for.

      I want to give a message to Obama. I want him to understand that the way he addresses us needs to change. His talk of cutting aid [because of the coup] upsets me. Nothing comes from the US for free. This is aid in kind, and the price we pay is the peace treaty with Israel.

      We are not weak: we can make our own weapons instead of getting them from America.

      Carmen Bedawi, 28

      Carmen Bedawi

    • Photograph: Holly Pickett for the GuardianI don’t think the [2012] elections were fairly held. The Brotherhood used to distribute oil and sugar to the poor people – they bought their loyalty that way. In Egypt there are a lot of poor people, maybe 60 to 70% of the population. He used ignorance and religion to fool them.

      The cabinet that was formed was all Muslim Brotherhood and his clan. He wasn’t going anywhere. The people have revolted. They have learned in the past two years. They did not know how politics works. Now they do. And they are united.

      Alaa Hassan, 28
      Air conditioning technician

      Alaa Hassan

    • Photograph: Holly Pickett for the GuardianWe came here not for Mohamed Morsi as a person. We came to respect democracy. We are here to respect the people’s will. We chose him [Morsi] as a president in a referendum and validated him through a referendum. Our choice has to be respected. The rules of democracy have to be respected. If they are just tossed away on a whim, there will be major problems.

      We will never leave this place until the legitimate rights of those who elected Morsi are respected and recognised. What has happened sends a very bad message to everyone. It is a bitter taste.

      Nancy Riyadh, 26, and her mother Yvonne Hanna, 54

      Nancy Riyadh

    • Photograph: Holly Pickett for the GuardianThis is the first time we have ever hit the streets. I have never seen people as happy as they were last night and as peaceful as they were. There was so much love between everybody. It was more than we ever saw in Mubarak’s time. There are some groups that gave a lot of themselves to push Morsi out, which was not the case during Mubarak’s time. It was like a burden that had to be moved. And we are so happy he has gone.

      At the time he took office, I cried so hard, because I did not believe that Morsi could become president. I could not believe that the Muslim Brotherhood could control the country. We wanted to leave Egypt – we wanted to go to Canada for six months. We feel like we were victorious over an enemy. Egypt will now be the best country in the world.

      Abdul Muneim Ahmad, 35

      Abdul Muneim Ahmad

    • Photograph: Holly Pickett for the GuardianI was extremely angry when I heard the news. This was a betrayal of electoral legitimacy and of democracy. It is without precedent anywhere. This was a planned coup, orchestrated by Ahmed Shafiq [the presidential candidate whom Morsi defeated] and the army for a long time.

      It was a conspiracy against demo­cracy. It can’t be the case that when democracy brings something that ­people don’t want it can be discarded like this. I respect the ballot box. We are ready for anything now. All options are open, including death. But we will not use weapons.”