Over the six weeks since Mohammad Morsi was deposed and the Army took over control of Egypt, Morsi’s supporters have developed their own sit-in camps in the streets of Cairo. These camps were centered on two locations–Nahda Square in Giza and the Nasr City neighborhood in Cairo, around the Raba’a al Adawiya Mosque.
On Tuesday, as Al-Azhar attempted to get talks started to lessen the divide between the religious and political factions in Egypt, pro-Morsi protestors began marching on the Interior Ministry. According to Al Akhbar English, local people began taunting the marchers, calling them terrorists, and rocks were thrown. Soon clashes had escalated to the point that the police intervened, using tear gas to attempt to disperse the marchers as well as the pro-Army residents fighting them.
On Wednesday things escalated. The Army moved in on the Nahda Square camp with bulldozers and tear gas, clearing the camp at the cost of 57 protestors dead. Resistance was stiffer at the Nasr City camp—the death toll from the Wednesday fighting was estimated at close to 500, with nearly 2000 injured. The Brotherhood of course said the death toll was far higher, accusing the Army of “massacring” 2000 people. The Raba’a al Adawiya Mosque was gutted by fire during the fighting. According to the Interior Ministry, 43 policemen were killed in the violence.
The violence was not confined to Cairo however, with pro-Morsi protestors attacking anti-Morsi businesses, police stations, and Coptic Christian churches in Alexandria. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights says that 25 Coptic churches, along with many of the homes and businesses of Copts and other Christians, were attacked on Wednesday. The Coptic Church has been accused by the Muslim Brotherhood of backing Morsi’s ouster. There was a notable upswing in anti-Christian violence in Egypt under Morsi’s administration.
More Morsi supporters attacked police stations in Fayoum Province, leading to at least 35 dead. Another five were killed in Suez when pro-Morsi mobs attempted to storm the provincial governor’s office.
Even as security forces moved into the camps in Cairo, Interim Vice President Mohammed al Baradei tendered his resignation, claiming that, “the beneficiaries of what happened today are those who call for violence, terrorism and the most extreme groups.” He went on to insist that some other course of action could have been taken. Egypt has declared a month-long state of emergency across 12 provinces.
On Thursday, Gehad al Haddad, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, said that the movement to restore Morsi to power had suffered a serious blow, and that most central coordination had been lost. That did not prevent the Brotherhood from calling for more marches on Thursday.
Friday saw a “Day of Rage,” which has led to at least 95 more dead pro-Morsi protestors, mostly around Ramses Square in Cairo. The violence, according to Al Jazeera, is not limited to just between pro-Morsi groups and security forces, but that anti-Morsi residents are blocking streets and fighting back against the pro-Morsi crowds. Pro-Morsi protestors are claiming that they have been fired on from helicopters, and on the October 6 Bridge, a protestor claimed that they were being attacked from all sides, without any route of escape.
There have been further clashes and more deaths in Damietta, Alexandria, and Ismailia. The Brotherhood has called for a week of daily marches, claiming that the coup has failed, and that the military leaders have, “lost their minds,” and are devoid of ethics and values.
(Featured Image Courtesy: Al Jazeera/Associated Press)