Egypt’s pro, anti-Morsi Demonstrators Settle in for the Long Game

Friday saw large demonstrations in Cairo and several other cities by Muslim Brotherhood members demanding the reinstatement of deposed Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi.

Those who are happy to see him gone, including millions of youth of the Rebellion Movement, Coptic Christians, working class people hurt by his economic policies, and Mubarak regime leftovers, have less reason to demonstrate, since they have what the want. Still, some came out to Tahrir Square in Cairo to show support for the transition to a new, elected government. In some provincial cities, there were clashes between the two groups, and a few deaths were reported.

At one point, thousands of Muslim Brothers surged toward the barracks of the Republic Guard, where Morsi is rumored to be held, but their path was blocked by the Egyptian military.

Meanwhile, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has been pressing the interim Egyptian government for answers as to why Dr. Morsi is being imprisoned and whether he will be charged and tried.

One of the most troubling aspects of the movement that overthrew Morsi was that it eventuated in a military coup (not what the youth were demanding) rather than in a recall election. That is, the Rebellion/ Tamarrud Movement just wanted a new election in which Morsi had to defend his right to the presidency, after a year in which he acted arrogantly and high-handedly. The military in turn has arrested a number of Muslim Brother leaders and is holding them without charge and without any early prospect of being charged or tried. All this extra-legal detention is likely intended to put pressure on the Brotherhood to accept what I have called the ‘revocouption’ with grace. But it is also weakening the rule of law in Egypt, which needs to be restored.

The huge crowds on Friday were intended to signal that the Brotherhood has no intention of accepting the change in government.

Euronews reports:

The Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations came soon after Egypt’s appointed interim president, Adly Mansour, gave his first major address to the nation:

AFP reports:

There is no reason to think that the Muslim Brotherhood will cease demonstrating any time soon, though to be fair, the interim authorities say they do not have a problem with that if it remains peaceful. If Egypt really goes back to having elections for serious candidates, it seems clear that the Brotherhood can only remain relevant by swallowing their pride and contesting. Egypt can only go forward by allowig that peaceful contestation.

4 Responses

  1. It would seem like the model endorsed by the National Salvation Front and the Tamarod movement could pose a greater threat to the Saudi and other Gulf state governments. They are further from those monarchies in terms of viewpoints than the Brotherhood is, and have shown an ability to challenge autocracy in ways that would be be quite threatening for those governments. While the felul and some other groups have shared objectives with the Gulf states, there is little to no community of interests between the Egyptian youth movements and such dictatorships.

    There already is now a Tamarod Bahrain movement that is urging mass demonstrations on August 14. The GCC’s rhetoric will continously look more inconsistent and Orwellian as it proves impossible for them to steer the direction of the region’s future. The demographic profile of the Middle East and North Africa makes further drastic changes inenvitable.

    If Saudi, Emirati, and other dissidents increasingly look to Tamarod or to Tunisia, the aristocracies of those states may come to miss the time when they believed that the Brotherhood was the main or only threat to their own dominance.

    • Call me a cynic but I disagree. Saudi and the GCC have money and can buy their way out of dissent of a revolutionary kind for the foreseeable future. The GCC’s rhetoric has been inconsistent and hypocritical for decades, just like any other political rhetoric, but nobody cares. The Rebel movement did not challenge a real autocracy, it challenged the weak, democratically elected ruler of a bankrupt state with the army on its side. Saudi isn’t bankrupt, the masses aren’t starving and the military is not on the side of a secular protest movement. It will be going nowhere.

  2. >> One of the most troubling aspects of the movement that overthrew Morsi was that it eventuated in a military coup (not what the youth were demanding) rather than in a recall election. That is, the Rebellion/ Tamarrud Movement just wanted a new election in which Morsi had to defend his right to the presidency, after a year in which he acted arrogantly and high-handedly

    REALLY !!!! What a surprise INDEED !!!!!

  3. The longer that Morsi is held, the more questions arise. As this article notes, both he and the arrested M.B. members are entitled to a trial – but … on what charge? The notion of putting him on trial for busting out of jail during the last days of the Mubarak era seems really lame.

    I have another question – this is a bit off topic – but what do people think of the new Egyptian govt’s attack on the Gaza supply tunnels? They seem to be eager to step up the blockade, and it is really affecting the people of Gaza. Also, an Egyptian military helicopter overflew Gaza and buzzed Rafah – they say it was by accident – which of course I do not believe.

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