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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Egypt: Minor clashes occurred in the country on the second anniversary of Rabaa protest dispersal

Minor rally on the anniversary of Rabaa Al-Adaweya
protest dispersal in Cairo
(Image: Daily News of Egypt)
Minor clashes occurred in Cairo and in several other Egyptian cities on Friday 14 August, as Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed Morsi supporters gathered for the second anniversary of violent dispersal of sit-ins in Cairo’s Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares.

Two years ago Egyptian security and Armed Forces have dispersed massive pro-Morsi and pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo’s Nasr City, on the Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square, and on Al-Nahda Square in Giza, as the massive crackdown of Islamists followed these events throughout the country.

Islamist backed President Mohamed Morsi who was democratically elected by Egyptian was ousted by Egypt’s Armed Forces amid massive nationwide protests against his rule in July 2013. Morsi’s ouster was not accepted by his supporters and the country’s Islamist forces, so the massive protests spread in the country with the sit-ins of the ousted President’s supporters. After several warnings of Egypt’s security forces and demands to clear the square Egyptian security forces and soldiers started to disperse the sit-in, using tear gas and ammunition as well. Massive and violent dispersal of the protests left at least 700 people dead and almost 1500 people injured, although some civil organizations give higher death toll and number of injured. In addition to that almost 800 people were arrested amid the protests’ dispersal.

At least 10 policemen were killed during the dispersal operation and dozens were injured as well, as some of the protesters carried lethal weapons inside the camp.
Violent dispersal of a massive pro-Morsi rally in Cairo Rabaa in
2013
(Image: Coptic Solidarity)

The Rabaa and Nahda protest dispersal turned out to be one of the deadliest events since the beginning of the Arab Spring in Egypt in 2011. International community and human rights organizations as well as local human rights groups condemn usage of excessive violence by Egyptian governmental forces and demand that those responsible for the mass murder of protesters to be held accountable.

Meanwhile, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters nationwide faced arrests and trials since summer 2013, while there are no publicly known cases of policemen responsible for usage of excessive violence while dispersing the sit-ins.

This year Egyptian security forces tightened security measures nationwide, deploying additional forces to the roads, squares and governmental buildings in order to prevent mass rallies and possible clashes. In addition to that situation in the country remains tense and unstable due to the threat of the jihadist insurgency in Sinai, as Egyptian state continues its fight against Sinai based ISIS affiliated militants.

Friday though was marked by several minor rallies and clashes of the former President Morsi’s supporters. Thus, a group of Muslim Brotherhood supporters attempted to block the road in the Kafr El-Sheikh governorate and tried to burn tyres there, but the rally was dispersed by the security forces.

A man stands in front of the lines of bodies of the killed
protesters in August 2013
(Image: Daily News of Egypt)
Several hundreds protesters gathered in Cairo as well, though the rally was dispersed by the police using teargas. Police reportedly dispersed three pro-Musluim Brotherhood rallies in Western Cairo and one in the North of the city. In the north of the city police used teargas against Morsi supporters who were hurling large firecrackers. 

Other Egyptian cities also faced some small pro-Muslim Brotherhood rallies marking the anniversary of Rabaa Al-Adaweya. Number of the protesters though was small due to the recently adopted protest law that prohibits protests and rallies that were not authorized and allowed by the police. Any attempts of organizing protests without police’s permit are punishable.

Meanwhile Egyptian Islamist Building and Development Party, political wing of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya group, that supported ousted President Morsi and was one of the main organizers of the Alliance for Support of Legitimacy, called for a political dialogue between Egyptian political forces in order to end the tensions and find the solution to the crisis in the country. It was the first time when the group called for the real initiative in order to end conflict between Egyptian current government and Muslim Brotherhood supporters.