|Muslim Brotherhood's protests in Egypt|
(Image: Ahram Online)
Friday, 27 December, was marked in Egypt by the nationwide protests of Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters protesting recent decision of Egypt’s interim government to designate Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist organization”.
Egypt’s Cabinet of Ministers has officially declared Muslim Brotherhood “terrorist organization” on Wednesday, 25 December, banned its activities and ordered to freeze financial assets and bonds of the group. The decision came one day after deadly blast hit Nile Delta city of Mansoura, which took 16 lives and left more than 136 people injured. Muslim Brotherhood received accusations of organizing this terrorist attack, but Sinai based terrorist group Ansar Beyt Al-Maqdis, inspired by Al-Qaeda, declared its responsibility for the explosion.
The official statement of Egypt’s government though stated that the decision to ban the group and to declare it “terrorist organization” came as a reaction to the recent blast in Mansoura, several bombings and attacks of the churches, attacks in Sinai and series of aggressive and violent actions aimed to disrupt order and to threaten security in Egypt. The government’s move came in the framework of the massive military’s crackdown of Islamists since pro-Morsy sit-ins in Cairo have been violently dispersed in mid-August leaving hundreds of dead.
The decision to designate Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization is considered being controversial, as there are many supporters of it and at the same time many those who strongly opposes it claiming there is no legal backgrounds for such a decision and it could be easily used to oppress the opposition.
|Clashes during Muslim Brotherhood's protests in Cairo|
Egypt’s Ministry of Interior though has declared the sentences for collaborating and associating with Muslim Brotherhood and their activities. Thus, anyone who joins Muslim Brotherhood will receive up to 5 years in prison. The same sentence could be received by those, who are proved to be the members of Muslim Brotherhood, provide with the information about the group, promotes the group verbally or in the written form etc. Those who takes high administrative positions on the group or finances its activities could receive hard labor sentences.
Muslim Brotherhood’s representatives however expressed their disappointment and disagreement with this decision and stated that the group will continue its activity and its peaceful protests. Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt also denies its possible links to different terrorist organizations as well.
Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters flocked n Friday, 27 December, to the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities nationwide to protest the recent decision of the interim government and to express their demands. The protests actions have started after Friday noon prayers.
Demonstrations though have turned violent in Cairo and other cities as well as pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters have clashed with local residents and security forces. People have been throwing rocks and stones at each other, several vehicles including police ones have been burnt during the clashes. Police interfered and fired tear gas and bird shots in order to disperse the clashing crows.
Egypt’s Ministry of Health has reported about three deaths resulted from the clashes. The slain persons were killed in Cairo, Upper Egypt’s Menya and Nile Delta Damietta respectively. There are also dozens of injured, most of them with the wounds caused by the birdshots.
A total number of 265 members of Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested by Egypt’s police during the protests and clashes.
Earlier on Friday clashes erupted also between Al-Azhar students supporting Muslim Brotherhood and police. Students’ protests continue in Egypt during weeks, since the beginning of the new academic year. Friday’s protests of students have been held as a response to the decision to allow police forces on the campuses of the university and also in commemoration of the death of another Al-Azhar student killed during the clashes on Thursday.