MARY SCULLY ON EGYPT

ON EGYPT

In November 2013, the Egyptian military regime banned all protests & mandated the use of police force to disperse them. The repression & crackdown on civil liberties has been massive & what is remarkable is that so many continue to defy it. Thousands of activists from secular groups & the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) have been imprisoned for violating the law & have received draconian sentences, including mass death sentences.

Today is the fourth anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak; the regime of General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was on full deployment. They sealed off Tahrir Square & other city squares, beefed up police at state buildings, used riot cops with tear gas & birdshot to disperse protesters from downtown Cairo & in other cities, & moved tanks into the Cairo suburb of Matariyah firing tear gas & birdshot. The Health Ministry reports 15 dead & 37 injured (nationwide) which are likely lowball figures. 134 people have been arrested–which is also likely a lowball figure.

Matariyah is known as an Islamist & MB stronghold. It is a working class district that played a role in the 2011 uprising with large protests, 20 police cars torched, & two police stations looted & torched. It has become a flashpoint for confrontations between Islamists & the regime since the ouster of Morsi in July 2013. At least nine of the fifteen protesters killed by police today were in Matariyah. They left the area covered in debris & in a cloud of tear gas.

Media in Egypt have maligned the achievements of the 2011 uprising. Hoping to convince who? Media elsewhere attempt to portray the opposition as primarily MB. It’s reported the MB & secular groups are unable to overcome mutual distrust & join forces against the regime & that distrust in entirely understandable from MB support for the conduct of the Morsi regime. But if the el-Sissi regime & military are to be successfully defied, a rapprochement in action must be forged. A defense of MB activists under attack is essential to that unity. Continue reading