* First death in anti-Mursi violence shows national rift
* Funeral draws Brotherhood crowd
* Divide between Islamists, others, grows wider
By Yasmine Saleh
DAMANHOUR, Egypt, Nov 27 Islam Massoud's funeral
laid bear the political feud in Egypt that caused his death.
It was mostly Muslim Brotherhood supporters who turned out
to pay their respects to the teenager, killed in the Nile Delta
town of Damanhour when he went out to support President Mohamed
Mursi and the Islamist group that stands behind him.
Yet the streets surrounding the town square, where hundreds
gathered for the 15-year-old's funeral, were festooned with
banners proclaiming opposition to the Islamists.
Massoud's death on Sunday was the first fatality in a wave
of protests and violence between Islamists and their opponents,
set off by Mursi's decree last week expanding his powers
temporarily and preventing court challenges to his decisions.
"No to the Brotherhood," said one banner, a slogan also
written walls in Damanhour, 135 km (85 miles) north of Cairo.
Watching the funeral on Monday, onlookers openly aired
"Of course we are all very sad about the violence happening
in our town and which led to the death of a boy," said Ahmed
Kheirallah, 29, who was watching the funeral. "We reject all
that. But we also reject Mursi's dictatorship decisions."
The crisis has exposed the divide between the newly
empowered Brotherhood and other groups that fear what they see
as the autocratic tendencies of the once outlawed group.
Opponents of Mursi rallied in Cairo's Tahrir Square for a
fifth day on Tuesday, demanding that Mursi scrap the decree they
say threatens Egypt with a new era of autocracy.
Police fired tear gas and organisers urged demonstrators not
to clash with Interior Ministry forces. However, tensions eased
slightly when the Brotherhood called off its own protest,
lessening the risk of a confrontation between rival supporters.
RHETORIC GROWS MORE EXTREME
Egypt's best organised political force, the Brotherhood has
rallied to Mursi's side. So too have more hardline Islamists who
hope the president elected in June will keep his promise to
implement Islamic laws.
In the opposition stand leftist, liberal and socialist
groups that have been consistently beaten at the ballot box by
the Islamists since Hosni Mubarak was toppled. They hope the
current crisis will galvanise broader public support.
Leaders on both sides say protests must remain peaceful. Yet
their rhetoric is growing more extreme, making it harder to keep
tempers in check. Mursi's critics accuse him of becoming Egypt's
new dictator, while the Islamists say their opponents are
Mubarak loyalists, or "feloul".
Witnesses said Sunday evening's violence in Damanhour flared
when several dozen protesters chanting anti-Mursi slogans
approached the Brotherhood headquarters in the town square.
Sensing an imminent attack, Brotherhood members including
Massoud came out to defend the building.
A giant banner displaying Massoud's dead body and declaring
him a martyr had been hung from the Brotherhood headquarters. He
had been hit on the head with a club.
"A boy got killed for nothing. What is all this is for? What
did the Brotherhood or the president do?" said Doaa Abdallah, a
housewife and Brotherhood supporter who with other women marched
separately from the men in the funeral procession.
"This is our president, our master, and we should all obey
him. Those who engage in such violence are nothing but a group
of feloul, thugs and Godless people," she said.
Mohamed Nassar, a member of a more hardline Islamist group,
added: "The liberal opposition will do anything to stop Egypt
from becoming what it should be and was always meant to be: an
Since Mubarak was ousted, non-Islamist parties have been
struggling to get organised, helping the Brotherhood to do so
well in the elections. But new political parties including one
set up by leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi say they are
starting to make their presence felt.
Yousef Khaddam, an activist in Sabahi's movement, forecast a
big turnout for the anti-Mursi rally in Cairo. "We are seeing a
lot of support in Damanhour," he said.