Six dead as thousands of Mursi supporters march in Egypt

CAIRO Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:01pm EDT

1 of 7. A riot police officer takes his position during a protest by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi in front of El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo, August 30, 2013. Thousands of supporters of Mursi marched through Cairo and cities across Egypt on Friday to demand his reinstatement, in the movement's biggest show of defiance since hundreds of protesters were killed two weeks ago.

Credit: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Thousands of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi marched through Cairo and cities across Egypt on Friday to demand his reinstatement, in the movement's biggest show of defiance since hundreds of protesters were killed two weeks ago.

Although most marches passed without major incident, a security source said there had been at least six deaths, and police fired teargas at protesters in Cairo's Mohandiseen district.

The army-backed government, which has shot dead hundreds of supporters of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood since he was toppled by the military on July 3, had warned that forces posted at key intersections since morning would open fire if protests turned violent.

Having arrested most of the Brotherhood's leaders, it hoped by now to have suffocated the protests against its decision to force out and crush the movement that ruled Egypt for a year.

But its prospects of presenting a return to normality looked to have been set back by live television pictures of teargas and burning tyres in Cairo, as well as the sheer number of separate marches that the well-organized Brotherhood managed to stage.

The security source said there had been at least 50 injured throughout Egypt, in addition to the six dead, and more than 20 arrests. The cabinet issued a statement after the protests saying that anyone who disregarded the curfew would face legal consequences.


The demonstrators appeared mostly to have opted for numerous scattered protests, avoiding Cairo's bigger squares or the scenes of earlier protests such as the pro-Mursi street camps where security forces shot dead more than 600 people on August 14.

Just after Friday prayers, around 500 protesters set off from central Cairo's Sahib Rumi mosque, chanting: "Wake up, don't be afraid, the army must leave", "The Interior Ministry are thugs" and "Egypt is Islamic, not secular".

By mid-afternoon, thousands were marching in districts across Cairo calling for the return of the elected government, and some remained outside the presidential palace in the capital until just before the 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) curfew.

Soldiers and helmeted police in black uniforms and bulletproof vests, armed with teargas and semi-automatic rifles, manned checkpoints near the protests and blocked roads.

In Egypt's second city, Alexandria, a total of more than 10,000 protesters took part in several separate demonstrations.

Marches were also held in several cities in the Nile Delta including Tanta, in the three Suez Canal cities of Suez, Ismailia and Port Said, and in the southern city of Assiut.

The Brotherhood's London press office circulated an email with links to video streams from what it said were protests in 15 districts of Cairo, as well as 32 in other towns and cities.

In the city of Fayoum, the private television channel CBC showed footage of a female Brotherhood supporter in a black head-to-toe veil, leading a march of veiled women and carrying a placard reading "Where did legitimacy go?".

"This revolutionary wave will not stop," Brotherhood politician Farid Ismail said by phone from an undisclosed location.

He said the numbers of those who had demonstrated despite "intimidation, teargas, live bullets and detentions" had been hugely underreported.

"This will continue in the coming weeks," he said.

Armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the government he backs appear to have won broad public support for their crackdown, which they portray in the largely state-controlled or pro-government media as a fight against terrorism.


The Brotherhood, which won five popular votes after the overthrow of the military-backed president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, and gave Egypt its first civilian president in Mursi, says it is still committed to peaceful resistance.

For decades Egypt's only effective opposition group, despite being officially banned, the Brotherhood seized on the anti-Mubarak uprising to win the presidency.

But millions were alienated by its ideologically driven rule and failure to revive the economy, and took to the streets, giving the army-backed establishment its cue to act with more venom than ever against a group it had repressed for decades.

From early morning, armored vehicles fitted with machineguns guarded key points such as Tahrir Square, epicenter of the 2011 uprising, and Ramses Square, where more than 100 people, mostly Mursi supporters, were killed in protests two weeks ago. More than 100 members of the security forces have also been killed in the turmoil.

"Today's big turnout show the Brotherhood's ability to organize itself and proves its structure still stands," political analyst Mustapha Al-Sayyid said.

"This will pose a challenge on the authorities to end the protests and regain stability, or to decrease the curfew hours, which is the first step to bringing life back to normal."

The Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi earlier exhorted Egyptians to take to the streets.

"You Egyptians, go out, all of you, men, mothers, daughters even children. This is a religious duty on all Egyptians!" he said in a Friday sermon broadcast on Qatari state television.

The crackdown on Islamists has soured relations between Egypt and Qatar, a wealthy Gulf Arab state and U.S. ally that backed the Brotherhood and gave Egypt $7 billion during Mursi's administration.

(Additional reporting by Cairo Arabic Desk, Yasmine Saleh, and by Sami Aboudi in Dubai; Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (6)
This headline in one of Canada’s largest right-wing newspapers says it all:
“British vote on Syria demonstrates deep western weariness with Middle East”
National Post – ?5 minutes ago?
British ‘no’ vote on Syria ratchets up pressure on Obama. The United States found itself with only one major partner – France – in its plans to strike Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons, after its staunchest ally Britain had to beg off following a …
We are weary. Only Jews and Palestinians and Arabs really care anymore. After seven decades, the rest of us are sick of it/sic/sick/sick. Either make peace among yourself or commit mass suicide, but leave the rest of us alone.
And blow up Jerusalem while you’re at it in order to get rid of those Jewish, Muslim and Christian symbols that have caused so much death, destruction and war throughout history and into today.

Aug 30, 2013 10:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Burns0011 wrote:
Please stop inserting so much self-centered bias in your reports. The Brotherhood IS the enemy of democracy in Egypt. The ideology of the Brotherhood does not allow for the free expression of other points of view, it does not allow for compromise, and it does not allow for criticism.

You are either for the Brotherhood or against it, in their point of view, and if you are against it, then you don’t matter.

This is a recipe for a fundamentalist theocratic state, not a democracy. Egypt’s military *did the right thing* when it threw the Brotherhood out of office.

Aug 30, 2013 2:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BanglaFirst wrote:
US and the West should bomb these evil coup leaders plus their desert tyrants supporters because there is no place for these devils in this World.

Aug 30, 2013 4:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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