Tuesday,17 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)
Tuesday,17 July, 2018
Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)

Ahram Weekly

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Pro-Morsi protests have gone far enough

On Twitter and Facebook Egyptians debated how the government should deal with the protests in support of the deposed president Mohamed Morsi. The sit-in in Rabaa Al-Adaweya in Nasr City is causing huge traffic problems that force hundreds of thousands of people to lose several hours entering and exiting Nasr City every day, according to Ali Al-Sharkawi.

“I can’t believe it takes me three hours to go to work and back in Mustafa Al-Nahhas Street in Nasr City,” said Mohamed Hatim, who added that the pro-Morsi supporters have pushed the residents of Rabaa Al-Adaweya to the limit by cutting them off from the outside world.

“I know friends in this neighbourhood who cannot go to work or even go out because of the sit-in. Every time they enter their street they are required to show their ID.”

Mahmoud Omar said pro-Morsi supporters offered to help the residents of Rabaa Al-Adaweya to make their lives easier but received no response.

Said Hatim: “I think Omar is living in another city and talking about another sit-in. The Muslim Brotherhood has violated the privacy of residents by sleeping in front of their homes and drinking their water.”

Tips for ending sit-ins without casualties

In her blog “Inanities” Sarah Carr advises the security forces and the government should they decide to disperse the pro-Morsi protests and evacuate Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares:

“It seems more and more likely that security bodies will act in the next few days to disperse the pro-Morsi protests and evacuate Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares. Last week’s violence on Nasr Road demonstrates that they are incapable of acting with restraint or with any kind of sensible plan. That they are taking on a massive civilian sit-in spells disaster. I would like to suggest that there are ways to minimise the deaths and injuries so that we do not replicate what happened in Tiananmen Square.

Hospitals surrounding the area must be on red alert. Extra blood supplies must be collected in advance.

The security forces will probably attack at night, when there are fewer cameras but more protesters. This automatically ensures more blood. The Nahda protest is virtually empty during the day and in my opinion could be controlled with much less force than is required at night. Rabaa is almost always full and there is no good time to attempt to disperse it. If the police cared about international standards, it would use only enough force required for self-defence or to control the situation.

Independent journalists have seen weapons in the Nahda sit-in. It seems unlikely that one sit-in has weapons but the other doesn’t. BBC journalists saw a very basic weapon used by the pro-Morsi side in last week’s clashes.

When dealing with armed opponents the police of course have the right to use force to defend themselves.

Security bodies must anticipate and plan for the thousands of frightened, angry protesters who will be forced out of Rabaa, possibly in the dark of night, surrounded by residents who for three weeks have been slowly fuming about their presence. This is in addition to the general public at large, who since 30 June have been told that these protesters are terrorists. How will they protect these protesters from reprisals?

Detainees must not be brutalised. Arrests should in any case be kept to a minimum and reserved for only the most serious acts.

The Armed Forces must not use its vehicles as weapons. If there is a risk that its soldiers will “panic” and in the face of resistance run over protesters as happened at Maspero then it is its duty not to take these vehicles anywhere near areas of civilian conflict until its soldiers man up and/or are trained properly in the art of dealing with large, angry crowds.

Journalists and NGOs should be coming up with a plan to document the dispersal, seeking out vantage points where they can see but are safe. The security forces and other civilians should leave them alone to do their job.

I hope that anyone who protested last week against terrorism is able to differentiate between acts of terrorism and violence used in response to an attack by security bodies. I hope also they realise that Egypt’s security bodies have never demonstrated any ability to deal with civilian protesters in a way that protects life and minimises casualties, and that in ‘mandating’ security bodies to deal with the ‘terrorists’ they sanctioned arbitrary and excessive use of force.”


“How many protesters must Egypt government kill before US suspends $1.3 billion in military aid? Israeli treaty isn’t the only concern.”
@Kenneth Roth

“To newcomers and overnight experts on Egypt: the military and Muslim Brotherhood rock and hard place has been a long time in place.”
@Mona Eltahawy

“Brotherhood children were made to wear burial shrouds and go on a protest. This is child abuse!”
@Bassem Sabry

“I’m against military, Muslim Brotherhood & fulul and also Salafis & anyone w poor women & minority rights record.”
@Mohsen Mohamed

“Is this a preparation for ‘hands-wash’ from Obama who supported MB terrorism in Egypt big time?! Islamic Brotherhood now using heavy gun-fire against Egyptian army in demonstrations.”

“It’s amusing how the number of protesters seems to be increasing in the public imagination. 25 million, 33 million, 40 million.”
@Matt Bradley

“Obama administration must act to prevent a new autocracy in Egypt.”
@ Jackson Diehl

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