Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New pressure on military

Liberals slam fatal crackdown

  • Print
Soldiers walk among smouldering remains of the Muslim Brotherhood protest camp Thursday in the Cairo district of Nasr City.

AHMED GOMAA / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Soldiers walk among smouldering remains of the Muslim Brotherhood protest camp Thursday in the Cairo district of Nasr City.

CAIRO -- The military-backed government faced pressure on two fronts Thursday as Islamists torched a public building and threatened fresh protests while liberal parties condemned the deadly crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood that has damaged Egypt's international stature.

As the death toll in Wednesday's police raids on Islamist protests rose to 638, liberal factions, including supporters of the coup that overthrew President Mohammed Morsi last month, criticized the army's tight grip on the interim government and new threats by the Interior Ministry to use lethal force.

Liberals fear a return to the style of police state that for three decades bolstered Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown in a 2011 uprising led by young liberal activists. They, like their nemesis the Brotherhood, have been outmanoeuvred by generals and security officials in a battle to shape the country's future.

"Although we do not fully approve of the government, we do believe we have to work with them," said Ahmad Abdou, a leader of the group Rebel, which sponsored massive protests against Morsi in June. "But we will not allow the return of the (Mubarak) regime. We will fight until our last breath."

The stakes are high. Four people were killed in clashes in Alexandria on Thursday. Churches were attacked across the country. Islamist protesters allegedly threw Molotov cocktails and set fire to the municipal building in Giza, outside Cairo. About the same time, flag-draped coffins of police officers killed in Wednesday's clashes were driven slowly through the capital.

The Brotherhood, which claimed more than 2,000 people had died nationwide after police stormed two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo, vowed to protest until the former president is reinstated. The government kept Morsi in detention on what are widely regarded as trumped-up charges of espionage.

"We will always be non-violent and peaceful. We remain strong, defiant and resolved," Brotherhood spokesman Gehad Haddad posted on his Twitter account. "We will push forward until we bring down this military coup."

That is all but impossible. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, commander of the armed forces, is the power behind the government. He appeared to have sided with hardliners in ordering the crackdown, which led to the resignation of Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel laureate and the nation's most prominent liberal.

ElBaradei's departure was followed by harsh international criticism over Egypt's handling of the latest crisis. His move also highlighted the egos, lack of organization and conflicting agendas that have beset liberals for years.

The Rebel group, which had called for ElBaradei's inclusion in the government, turned on him. "You have chosen to beautify your international image in front of your friends around the world at the expense of your national image in front of the Egyptian people and of your role" as vice-president, it said in a statement after the resignation.

That sentiment was shared by ElBaradei's National Salvation Front. Liberals supported the military in removing an Islamist president, but they also vilified the generals for human rights abuses when the army ruled the country after Mubarak's fall. That irony has been tough to square since the army's robust return to the political scene.

In backing the military, liberals appear to have helped prevent Islamists from building Islamic law into an amended constitution. The question, though, is how to protect civil rights, including freedom of the press and political expression, from generals who disdain opposition and have imposed emergency law.

"The current state is difficult because it's militarized," said activist Radwan Adam, a socialist. "The military has not left power since (2011). They are the authors and directors of this scenario... The Muslim Brotherhood was just competing with them for the role of the protagonist."

The army enjoys broad public support. There has been little domestic backlash against Wednesday's crackdown on the Brotherhood, which many Egyptians believed wanted to create an Islamic state. The April 6th movement, a key architect of the uprising against Mubarak, believes both the Brotherhood and the army are authoritarian.

"It has become clear that all the parties fighting over power do not care for Egyptians," it said in a statement Thursday. "The Muslim Brotherhood's leaders sacrificed its members for the sake of power while the security forces did not stop from attacking violently those same members."

 

-- Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2013 A17

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Jets Bogosian-Little-Ladd

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Scottish independence referendum will have an effect in Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google