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Another Day of Mass Protests in Divided Egypt

July 12, 2013

by Sharon Behn

Egypt is bracing for another day of mass protests Friday with supporters and opponents of ousted president Mohamed Morsi taking to the streets.

The Muslim Brotherhood has vowed to keep protesting until Morsi is reinstated. They say democracy itself is under threat in Egypt.

Morsi is still detained by the army. The Brotherhood says the military's actions to remove him and set up an interim government is a blow to the country's democracy.

"We will keep upping the pressure on the military coup by protesting and by having sit-ins and million man marches every other week," said Gehad El Haddad, a spokesman for the Brotherhood. "We are logistically capable of continuing this hopefully, and the only thing we can do is we stand by our principle and call on the Egyptian people to defend their democracy. And it's their choice."

The group says it believes in non-violent, democratic and peaceful change as it seeks to have the ousted president returned to power.

Morsi's opponents are also vowing peaceful demonstrations.

They say the military's ouster last week of the president reflected the democratic will of the Egyptian people.

The mass rallies here in Cairo reflect the deep divisions within Egyptian society and the challenges the interim President Adly Mansour faces in unifying the country.

​​​On Monday, clashes in Cairo between the Brotherhood and military left more than 50 people dead. Egypt's top prosecutor has accused the group of inciting the violence, but El Haddad blamed Egyptian security forces for inflaming tensions.

"I can't swallow the journalistic integrity of calling Egyptian on Egyptian violence, or of calling it clashes," said El Haddad. "These are peaceful protesters that had opened fire on them by the military and by the police. This is not clashes. This is not violence between Egyptians. This is attempted, premeditated murder by the Egyptian police forces, by the Egyptian army against civil, peaceful Egyptians, unarmed, while they were praying for God's sake.”

The army maintains that troops shot after coming under attack from terrorists trying to storm a military headquarters in Cairo.

"We were assigned to secure the Republican Guard headquarters and suddenly early morning we found motorcyclists firing at us and some of us were hurt," said an army spokesman.

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