On Monday, pro-Mohamed Morsi supporters marched to the intelligence headquarters of the army in Egypt, despite a warning from the military command that all army installations were off limits. Before thousands could reach their destination, the march was called off, and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated protesters once again made the site of the Rabaa mosque their place of protest, remaining defiant after the brutal clashes this past weekend that left dozens dead.
Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, protesting the overthrow and arrest of their democratically-elected president, have the unalienable right to stand in the way of a coup that is threatening to put Egypt back in a familiar mould, eerily resembling the Mubarak era. Nevertheless, if further casualties are to be prevented, Morsi backers need to stand down; it is palpable that the Sisi "entourage" will continue arresting their leaders, and purge their sit-ins and vigils, with the same cycle of violence they have been ensuing ever since they took over.
In the immediate aftermath of most coups, political leaders are arrested and held in contempt. As it was expected, senior party leaders of the Brotherhood — Morsi included — were arrested with or without the public's knowledge for dubious criminal charges. The SCAF command is currently accusing Morsi for assisting jailed Hamas personnel for murdering Egyptian police when Mubarak was unceremoniously deposed. This charge has been rejected by the Brotherhood. "It's every crime that you would think of if you were looking at the 25 January revolution [the 2011 uprising] through the eyes of Hosni Mubarak," said a Brotherhood spokesperson. He further added, "it's retaliation from the Mubarak state."
Once the political challenges were mostly dealt with, the military has now turned its focus to repeatedly attacking any demonstration led by Morsi supporters. Nearly three weeks ago, the army was accused by Brotherhood officials to have killed over 50 people in a protest led outside their headquarters. The incident took place hours before the interim president had laid out a timetable for the country's future elections.
On Saturday, it was reported that dozens of pro-Morsi supporters — at least over 70 — were killed in a fresh round of attacks by the military regime. Prominent Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Gehad-al-Haddad was quoted as saying that firing broke out early, shortly before dawn prayers around the Rabaa-al-Awadia mosque. Brotherhood member Saad el-Hosseini was quoted as saying on Saturday, "I have been trying to make the youth withdraw for five hours. I can't. They are saying have paid with their blood and they do not want to retreat."
Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the attacks, accusing the armed forces of targeted killing of demonstrators at point blank range. The HRW team was informed by doctors at the nearby Rabaa hospital examining the victims "[the] majority of the bullet injuries were to the head, neck, and chest." The report also provided testimony from eye witnesses that shots seemed to be fired from a point of elevation, hinting strongly that sniper wielding army personnel were set in place in nearby buildings.
If there were any lingering doubts that a military takeover in Egypt is in full effect, the atrocities committed in the past few weeks should hopefully put an end to any such delusions. The notion that the army usurped power to liberate the nation from the "tyranny" of the Brotherhood is a blatant lie. MB sympathizers have every right to demand (peacefully) the restoration of their leader. Yet, if they fear for their lives, they would be well advised to retreat.
And for one simple reason; this coup will not relent to kill again.
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