August 2013 Rabaa massacre

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August 2013 Cairo sit-ins dispersal
Part of the Post-coup unrest in Egypt (2013–present).
Rabaa al-Adawiya.png
Rabaa el-Adaweya Square during the dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-in
Location Cairo, Egypt
Date14 August 2013
TargetPro-Morsi demonstrators:
Deaths Human Rights Watch
817 [4] 1,150+ civilians [5]

Egypt's National Council for Human Rights: 632 killed

Contents

624 civilians
8 police officers

Health Ministry: 638 killed [6]

595 civilians
43 police officers

National Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy

2,600 people [7]
Non-fatal injuries
At least 3,994 injured [6]
PerpetratorsEgyptian Security Forces and Anti-Morsi protestors
MotiveDisperse the sit-in

On 14 August 2013, Egyptian security forces and army under the command of general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi raided two camps of protesters in Cairo: one at al-Nahda Square and a larger one at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. The two sites had been occupied by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who had been removed from office by the military a month earlier in a military coup d'etat against him. The camps were raided after initiatives to end the six-week sit-ins by peaceful means failed and as a result of the raids the camps were cleared out within hours. [8] The raids were described by Human Rights Watch as "one of the world's largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history". [9] According to Human Rights Watch, a minimum of 817 people and more likely at least 1,000 died during the dispersal. [10] However, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry, 638 people were killed on 14 August (of which 595 were civilians and 43 police officers) and at least 3,994 were injured. [6] [11] [12] The Muslim Brotherhood and the National Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy (NCSL) stated the number of deaths from the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque sit-in alone was about 2,600. [7] [13] The total casualty count made 14 August the deadliest day in Egypt since the 2011 Egyptian revolution, which had toppled Morsi's predecessor Hosni Mubarak. [14] Several world leaders denounced the violence during the sit-in dispersals. [15] [16]

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Current President of Egypt

Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil El-Sisi is an Egyptian politician who is the sixth and current President of Egypt, in office since 2014. Starting 10 February 2019, Sisi also began serving a one-year term as Chairperson of the African Union.

Protest expression of objection

A protest is an expression of bearing witness on behalf of an express cause by words or actions with regard to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations. Protesters may organize a protest as a way of publicly making their opinions heard in an attempt to influence public opinion or government policy, or they may undertake direct action in an attempt to directly enact desired changes themselves. Where protests are part of a systematic and peaceful nonviolent campaign to achieve a particular objective, and involve the use of pressure as well as persuasion, they go beyond mere protest and may be better described as cases of civil resistance or nonviolent resistance.

Violent retaliation followed in several cities across the country. The interim government declared a month-long state of emergency in response and curfews were instituted in many areas.

State of emergency Legal declaration or de facto acts by a government allowing assumption of extraordinary powers

A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to perform actions that it would normally not be permitted to do. A government can declare such a state during a disaster, civil unrest, or armed conflict. Such declarations alert citizens to change their normal behavior and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans. Justitium is its equivalent in Roman law—a concept in which the senate could put forward a final decree that was not subject to dispute.

Curfew

A curfew is an order specifying a time during which certain regulations apply. Typically it refers to the time when individuals are required to return to and stay in their homes. Such an order may be issued by public authorities but also by the head of a household to those living in the household. For instance, an au pair is typically given a curfew, which regulates when they must return to the host family's home in the evening.

Background

Following the 2011 Egyptian revolution and subsequent instability, millions of Egyptians took to the streets calling for the resignation of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood president, [17] which culminated in the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi. Prior to the anti-Morsi uprising, supporters of the deposed president occupied two squares — Rabaa al-Adawiya in Nasr City, Cairo and al-Nahda in Giza — originally to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his presidency, but from 3 July onwards to protest his ouster, vowing to remain until Morsi was reinstated. [18] Authorities delayed clearing the two protest camps as internal and external reconciliation process was established to resolve the crisis peacefully. [19] [20]

Egyptian revolution of 2011 2011 political upheaval in Egypt

The Egyptian revolution of 2011, also known as the January 25 Revolution, started on 25 January 2011 and spread across Egypt. The date was set by various youth groups to coincide with the annual Egyptian "Police holiday" as a statement against increasing police brutality during the last few years of Mubarak's presidency. It consisted of demonstrations, marches, occupations of plazas, non-violent civil resistance, acts of civil disobedience and strikes. Millions of protesters from a range of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Violent clashes between security forces and protesters resulted in at least 846 people killed and over 6,000 injured. Protesters retaliated by burning over 90 police stations across the country.

June 2013 Egyptian protests Anti-government civil revolution in Egypt

The June 2013 protests were mass protests that occurred in Egypt on 30 June 2013, marking the one-year anniversary of Mohamed Morsi's inauguration as president. The events ended with the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état after millions of protesters across Egypt took to the streets and demanded the immediate resignation of the president. The rallies were partly a response to Tamarod, an ostensibly grassroots movement that launched a petition in April earlier that year calling for the government to step down and it claimed to have collected more than 29 million signatures. According to the Egyptian military calculated numbers counted through helicopters scanning the demonstrations' perimeters across the country, this was "the biggest protest in Egypt's history", with 32 million protesters.

Muslim Brotherhood Transnational Sunni Islamist organization

The Society of the Muslim Brothers, better known as the Muslim Brotherhood, is a transnational Sunni Islamist organization founded in Egypt by Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928. Al-Banna's teachings spread far beyond Egypt, influencing today various Islamist movements from charitable organizations to political parties—not all using the same name.

According to the military, the sit-ins were flash points for outbreaks of violence and bloody confrontations amongst pro-Morsi, anti-Morsi demonstrators and security forces. [18] [21] The encampments became a potent symbol of Egypt's impasse as they grew more permanent with stores, barbers and their own television station. [18] Authorities saw the camps as destabilising and disruptive and representing "a threat to the Egyptian national security and an unacceptable terrorizing of citizens," [18] [21] accusing the pro-Morsi side of provoking bloodshed to win sympathy [21] and considered the standoff as hindering their view of putting Egypt on a "roadmap" to restoring civilian democracy, with a new constitution and new elections. [19] The government threatened a raid on the protest camps on multiple occasions. [14] Allegedly, an ultimatum was issued prior to 14 August, although Al-Azhar, Egypt's official Islamic authority, denied that such a warning had been given. [22]

The area around the Rabaa al-Adaweya mosque has been packed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters sleeping in tents for over a month before the sit-in was cleared. Anti-coup sit-in at Rabaa Adiweya mosque 2013.jpg
The area around the Rabaa al-Adaweya mosque has been packed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters sleeping in tents for over a month before the sit-in was cleared.

Warning

Initiatives that tried to resolve the tension, including foreign-backed efforts by Gulf Arab countries, the E.U. and the U.S.A., failed to yield any positive outcomes before state authorities decreed these a failure and issued the ultimatum. [23] Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi warned just ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday that the government's decision to clear the sit-ins was "irreversible". [24]

Eid al-Fitr, also called the "Festival of Breaking the Fast", is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (ṣawm). This religious Eid is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on when the new moon is sighted by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality.

According to the Interior Ministry, the plan was originally to disperse the six-week-old sit-ins gradually by forming cordons around the two sites as early as dawn Monday, 12 August, allowing protesters to leave but preventing others from getting in, to minimize casualties before using water cannons and tear gas. [25] However, leaked news of the plan prompted thousands of protesters to defiantly flood into two protest camps, prompting police to postpone the move.

The protesters had been fortifying the sit-in camps. In Rabaa, men with helmets, sticks and what appeared to be protective sports equipment guarded barricades made of sandbags, truck tires and brick. They also built three concrete waist-high barriers against armored vehicles. [25]

Dispersal

On 14 August 2013, shortly after 07:00, Egyptian police moved to disperse the camps. According to the Interior Ministry, the plan was originally to stop the protests gradually by cutting off supply lines while providing a safe exit for those who elected to leave.

By 8:00 the smaller camp — near Cairo University in Giza — was cleared of protesters, but it took about 12 hours for police to take control of the main sit-in site near the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque that served as the epicenter of the pro-Morsi campaign. [20] [26] Police in riot gear opened fire with tear gas and birdshot. They were supported by bulldozers (to clear barricades), armored vehicles, and rooftop snipers who fired on those trying to flee. Military helicopters swooped low over the encampment and, using loudspeakers, warned the thousands of demonstrators to leave the area along designated routes to safety. [20] [26] [27]

For much of the afternoon, thousands of Morsi supporters chanting "Allahu Akbar" tried to join those besieged by the security forces inside the Nasr City camp. They were driven away when police fired tear gas. [26] All entrances to Rabaa were later blocked by security forces. Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad accused police snipers of firing at Rabaa protesters from the rooftop of surrounding buildings [20] [28] and protesters also said that snipers fired down on those trying to flee or reach safety. [20] In the afternoon, the protesters managed to push the police back to the point where they could get into a makeshift hospital. Shortly before dusk, soldiers and police officers renewed their push and protestors were forced to flee. [20] Government forces then seized control, destroying what remained of the protest camp.

Immediately after the morning raids, the National Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy, a pro-Morsi group, reiterated its rejection of violence and called on its members to continue to protest "to stop the massacre". [20] [22] The attacks set off retaliatory clashes and protest marches. [14] Protesters blocked important roads, including the Ring Road, a key route that connects many of Cairo's major districts. [22] Crowds of Morsi supporters marched toward eastern Cairo in the late morning, running into a barrage of gunfire as they confronted police lines. [14] Separately, a number of attacks on police stations occurred around the country. Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim put the number of stations attacked at 21. Angry mobs reportedly also attacked dozens of Christian properties. [22] By nightfall, the military-backed interim government had declared a state of emergency and instituted a curfew. [14] However, protesters established new sit-ins outside Mustafa Mahmoud Mosque in Mohandeseen, Giza [29] and others in cities around the country, defying the new curfew and the interior minister's vows to break up any such assemblies. [20]

Initial reports by the Egyptian Health Ministry said 235 protesters, three journalists and 43 policemen died in the violence and more than 2,000 were injured, with the death toll expected to rise. [20] [26] Many protesters or rioters were shot and at least one person appeared to have been burned alive. Egyptian state television aired images showing what appears to be weapons confiscated from the sit-in protesters' camps, including automatic rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition. An Egyptian free-to-air satellite news television channel aired infrared footage appearing to show pro-Brotherhood rioters firing automatic weapons against security forces. [30] According to some political analysts and historians, the force with which the police attacked the protesters appeared designed to provoke a violent response from supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. [31]

Aftermath

Rabaa Square before and after the sit-in dispersal. Rabaa Square before and after.jpg
Rabaa Square before and after the sit-in dispersal.

The violence then spread across the country as people learned what had happened in Cairo and took to the streets in anger. In the Giza Governorate, an angry mob attacked a police station, one of 21 such attacks according to the interior ministry. [20] [22] In southern Egypt, between two and seven Coptic Christian churches were burned to the ground, according to the New York Times, [20] while the interior ministry said that at least seven Coptic Christian churches had been vandalised or torched by suspected Islamists. One Coptic rights group, Maspero Youth Union (MYU), estimated that as many as 36 churches were "completely" devastated by fire across nine Egyptian governorates including in Minya, Sohag and Assiut, and many other churches were looted or stormed in ensuing street violence. [20] [32] Christian activists accused Morsi supporters of waging "a war of retaliation against Copts in Egypt." [33] According to the government, Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked government headquarters in several governorates. [14] Supporters of Morsi staged solidarity protests against the crackdown, with clashes reported in Ismailia, Alexandria, Suez, Upper Egypt's Assiyut and Aswan and other places. [34] [35] In defiance of the curfew, Morsi supporters vowed to return to the streets to continue protesting against the crackdown and coup. [33] Egyptian banks and its stock market were closed through 15 August. [14] Rail travel into and out of Cairo was also suspended. [22] In Giza, hundreds of Morsi supporters also set fire to local government offices; the government then authorised the use of live ammunition on anyone attacking state buildings. [36]

Tamarod called on its supporters to protest on 16 August and to form neighbourhood watch groups to guard against Morsi supporters; in like measure, Morsi supporters vowed to keep up their campaign to get the deposed president reinstated. [37]

The next day, hundreds of Morsi supporters barricaded themselves at the Fateh Mosque in Cairo. After a day, security forces again cleared the demonstrators. [38] The Muslim Brotherhood then reiterated its call to hold continued protests. [39] The Muslim Brotherhood called for a "Day of Rage" after Friday prayers on 16 August with Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad writing on Twitter: "Anti-coup rallies tomorrow will depart from all mosques of Cairo and head towards Ramsis square after Jumaa prayer in 'Friday of Anger'." The party also released a statement that read: "Despite the pain and sorrow over the loss of our martyrs, the latest coup makers' crime has increased our determination to end them." [7] By 20 August, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, who had been in hiding, was arrested after being found in a residential flat in Nasr City. [40] Pro-Morsi supporters continued to rally and on 30 August six protesters died. [41]

State of emergency and curfew

Map showing extent of the curfew issued by the interim Egyptian government on 14 August 2013. Curfew08142013.png
Map showing extent of the curfew issued by the interim Egyptian government on 14 August 2013.

The interim government declared a month-long state of emergency, commencing at 16:00. By doing so, the right to a trial and due process of the law was suspended. [20] A 19:00 curfew was also declared in 14 of the 27 governorates (Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Suez, Qena, Ismailia, Asyut, Sohag, Beni Suef, Minya, Beheira, South Sinai, North Sinai and Faiyum). [42] The army promised to enforce the curfew with the "utmost firmness." [22] The curfew would be enforced from 19:00–06:00 for a month, along with the state of emergency. [43] [44] The following day, Egypt's interim cabinet lifted the curfew in the cities of Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba and Dahab in South Sinai to avoid harming tourism. [45] The curfew had started to hurt the Cairo economy after less than a week in place. [46] Starting on 24 August, the interim cabinet decided to shorten the curfew by two hours to 21:00-06:00 excluding Fridays. [47] On 31 August, the curfew was again shortened by another two hours to 23:00-06:00 excluding Fridays where the curfew remained from 19:00-06:00. [48] On 12 September, Egypt's interim government decided to extend the state of emergency for 2 months, until 14 November, along with the curfew which remained unchanged. [49] Starting 21 September, the curfew was again shortened by two hours to 00:00-05:00 excluding Fridays where the curfew was shortened by one hour to 19:00-05:00. [50] On 24 October, the curfew was again shortened by one hour to 01:00-05:00 excluding Fridays where the curfew remained from 19:00-05:00. [51] The state of emergency and curfew was lifted at 16:00 on 12 November, two days earlier than expected, following a ruling by the administrative court. [52] [53]

Casualties

Bodies of victims killed in the massacre Dead bodies in RABIA Massacre (1).jpg
Bodies of victims killed in the massacre

On 14 August, the Egyptian Health Ministry said that at least 600 protesters died and more than 2,000 injured. An additional 43 police officers were killed in the violence, according to the Interior Ministry. [20] [26] The Muslim Brotherhood estimated the death toll at 2,000. Of the dead, 37 were from the town of Fayoum. [14] Many of the dead appeared to be young adults. [20]

On 15 August, the Egyptian Health Ministry then raised the death toll to 638 and number of injured to 3,994 from the clashes that broke out the previous day. Of those killed, 595 were protesters, including 377 at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and 90 in al-Nahda Square. [6] [11] [54] It is unclear whether at least a dozen of charred corpses and others that remain unidentified, have been included in the official death toll. [6] However, the Muslim Brotherhood and NCSL put the number of deaths from the Rabaa sit-in alone at about 2,600 people. [7] [13]

On 12 August 2014, Human Rights Watch stated in a report based on a year-long investigation that in the 14 August dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in alone, security forces, following a plan that envisioned several thousand deaths, killed a minimum of 817 people and more likely at least 1,000. [55] Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said that "in Rab'a Square, Egyptian security forces carried out one of the world's largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history" and that "this wasn't merely a case of excessive force or poor training. It was a violent crackdown planned at the highest levels of the Egyptian government". [9] [56]

Many deaths were also reported in Giza. [57] Workers of al-Iman mosque state the ministry "won't acknowledge" in their official death toll tally over 200 charred bodies that had been moved to the mosque from a protest camp nearby. [58] [59] At al-Iman mosque in Nasr City the next day, hundreds of bodies were still on the floor of a makeshift morgue and wrapped in shrouds and kept cool with blocks of ice, some bodies also bore gunshot wounds and many were charred beyond recognition. [36]

Among the dead was the daughter of Mohamed el-Beltagy, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member. [20]

Attack on journalists

During the dispersal, journalists covering the event were trapped. Four of them were killed, while others were injured or detained. [60] [61] According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, it was the deadliest day for journalists in Egypt since the organization began keeping records in 1992. [62] Veteran Sky News camera operator Michael "Mick" Deane, 61, was killed. [20] [60] [61] [63] [64] Deane was an experienced journalist who had previously worked for CNN before working for Sky News for 15 years. [65] Photos of Deane's body showed that he was wearing a helmet that clearly identified him as a journalist. [66] The CPJ said Deane was the 1000th journalist it had confirmed killed worldwide. [67] Egyptian journalist Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, 26, worked for Gulf News publication XPRESS newspaper, was shot and killed. [60] [61] [63] [64] [66] [68] Egyptian reporter Ahmed Abdel Gawad, who was with the Al-Akhbar state-run newspaper and was an editorial manager for the Muslim Brotherhood television satellite channel Misr 25, was shot in the back and killed. [60] [61] [62] [69] Rassd News Network (RNN) photojournalist Mosab El-Shami was also killed. [60] [61] Among the journalists most seriously injured were Al-Watan editor Tariq Abbas, who was shot in the face, and Al-Masry Al-Youm photojournalist Alaa al-Qamhawy, who was shot in the foot. Among the detained journalists were Al-Jazeera journalist Abdullah al-Shami and Al Jazeera Media Network's Mubasher Misr photographers Emad Eddin Al-Sayed and Abdulrahman Al-Mowahhed-Bellah, and Freedom and Justice Party (Egypt) (Al-Hurrya wa Al-Adala) / Misr 25 journalist Radwa Al-Selawi. [69] Previously during the 2013 political violence in Egypt, photojournalist Ahmed Assem el-Senousy was killed on 8 July 2013 as a result of sniper fire, while covering a protest. [70] In total, five journalists were killed since political violence erupted after the military coup in 2013.

Egypt's State Information Service released a statement on 17 August critical of news coverage from foreign journalists: "Media coverage has steered away from objectivity and neutrality which has led to a distorted image that is very far from the facts... Egypt is feeling severe bitterness towards some western media coverage that is biased to the Muslim Brotherhood and ignores shedding light on violent and terror acts that are perpetrated by this group." [71]

The United Nations said about the sit-in dispersal that there had been "serious violations of human rights law", including the killing of journalists, after UNESCO's Director-General Irina Bokova had already condemned the killing earlier of journalist el-Senousy in July. [72] [73] The International Press Institute demanded that Egypt be held responsible for violations of journalists' rights and the Egyptian military's targeting of the press corps. [74]

NCHR investigation

The Egyptian National Council for Human Rights's investigation blamed both the police and protestors for the incident. The investigation mainly blamed the police for using excessive force, and protestors for being armed. [75] The NCHR blamed security forces for using excessive gunfire and failing to protect peaceful protestors during the crackdown on the sit-in killing hundreds. According to the report, gunmen inside the sit-in shot fire at police officers, provoking a violent response from police and escalating the violence. [76]

Reactions

Domestic

Mostafa Hegazy, a spokesperson for Egypt's interim government, said: "We're not into the effort of dissolving anyone – or preventing anyone from being active in the public domain, but we're trying to make sure that everyone is legalised according to what the Egyptian law says..." [77] He added that the country was facing a war waged by "terrorist forces." [78] Interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei resigned in protest at the crackdown [14] saying his conscience was troubled over the loss of life "particularly as I believe it could have been avoided. It has become too difficult to continue bearing responsibility for decisions I do not agree with and whose consequences I fear." [33] He added that the "state of polarisation and grave division... the social fabric is threatened as violence breeds violence." He was then charged by a Cairo court with "breaching national trust;" the charge of treason could carry a 25,910EGP (US$1,430) fine if convicted. It followed a complaint that his resignation gives the international community a false impression of unity of the state as it "contradicts reality." However, after his resignation he left the country for Vienna. [79] Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi defended the state's reactions and praised the security forces saying that "we found that matters had reached a point that no self respecting state could accept...the spread of anarchy and attacks on hospitals and police stations." [80] [81] He also recommended the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood. [82] He further noted that Egypt was headed in the "right direction" and that he did "not fear civil war." In reaction to consideration of cutting aid funds from the U.S. and the EU, he defiantly said that it would be "a bad sign" in cutting of aid, but that while that would "badly affect the military for some time," Egypt would survive as "let's not forget that Egypt went with the Russian military for support and we survived. So, there is no end to life. You can live with different circumstances." It also follows Saudi Arabia's promise to fill in the aid vacuum. [83]

On 17 August, presidential advisor Mostafa Hegazy said: "We are facing a war launched by extremist forces escalating every day to a terrorist war. Forces of extremism intend to cripple our journey towards pure bright future, aiming and willing to bring to the whole state into total failure." [84] Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy condemned suggestion of cutting aid to Egypt and added that the government would not abandon its efforts to restore order "“We keep hearing if Egypt doesn’t do this or doesn’t do that, then aid will be stopped here or will be stopped there. If one side is revising aid they are giving, we are revising aid we receive as well." [85] He also said in light of international criticism of the move: "The attempts to internationalize the discussions about this event is something that Egypt rejects. I ask the foreign ministry to review the foreign aid of the past and to see if those aids are used in an optimal way." [86] In the wake of continued protests and violence, army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that he would no longer restrain his forces from confronting "attackers who want to destroy Egypt." He added: [87]

Our self-restraint will not continue. We will not accept any more attacks. We will meet with full force. Attackers want to destroy Egypt. Whoever imagines violence will make the state and Egyptians kneel must reconsider; we will never be silent in the face of the destruction of the country. [There is] room for everyone [and the security services would not] conspire [to take power]. The will of the Egyptian people is free, their will is free, they can choose whoever they want to rule them, and we are the guardians of this will. The army and the police right now are the guardians of the will of the people with regard to choosing who their leaders will be. I said previously that Egyptians if they want to change the world, they are capable of that, and I tell the Egyptian people now that if you want to build Egypt and its future, you will and you can, and you can make it 'Egypt the mother of all nations' Egypt will be as big as the world itself, with God's will.

Egyptian state television stated that the protest camps had been cleared "in a highly civilised way," while the interim government released a statement praising the "brave" security forces and blaming armed protesters present in the sit-in for the loss of life. [20] The government also called the raids necessary and said police had confiscated guns and other weapons from the camps. [22] The government renewed its promise to pursue an army-backed political transition plan in "a way that strives not to exclude any party". [88] Egyptian Ambassador to the UK Ashraf el-Kholy defended the dispersal and blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for causing the difficulties, saying: "Of course they did nothing but return fire. If you have somebody firing at you then you have to respond." [89] Party spokesman Mona al-Qazzaz said: [77]

This is not a government, this is not a regime, this is a mafia...They failed at every single democratic process, and they came on the back of the tanks as leaders...This is an illegitimate mafia that has hijacked the power of Egypt...They would have to pay the price of their crimes against humanity. They are the illegal people, we have won at every single democratic process and they have lost, and the only way for them to be back in the political arena is through the power of the bullets and tanks.

Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb called for "restraint", saying Al-Azhar is committed to seeking a political solution to the situation. [22] He also urged all political factions to respond to the national reconciliation efforts and said that he had no prior knowledge of the crackdown efforts. [90] The Coptic Church condemned the attacks on its churches and called on the army to restore order. [22] El-Tayeb and el-Baradei were among other advocated of the ouster of Morsi who later were seen to express at least a modicum of sympathy for the protesters due to the heavy-handed nature of the dispersal. [91] The al-Nour Party called on protestors to exhibit restraint, but said the dispersals would further complicate the political process. The April 6 Youth Movement blamed "the army, interior ministry and the Muslim Brotherhood" for the violence. [22] There were also reactions on social media. [92] The New Wafd Party said it was the government's duty to the sit-ins since the mandate to fight violence and terrorism on 26 July. It added that while the right of peaceful protest and freedom of expression is guaranteed, the protesters at both squares were not peaceful protesters and were hiding weapons; it further accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being responsible for the unrest in the country with its allegedly inciting speeches, defiance of the state and disrespect of the will of what they suggested was a majority of the people and of the army that deepened the polarisation. Former presidential candidate Amr Moussa said that "the whole Egyptian society should stand against any attempt to raise strife on the current incidents." The founder of the Free Egyptians Party Naguib Sawiris said: "Decision to disperse MB sit-ins was crucial" and that no one accepts sit-ins that block the roads and hinder economic development. Popular Current leader and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi said: "We support people, army, police against terrorism" and wrote on Twitter, "We will support our people, army and police against the terrorism of those who monopolized the people's will." Former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh added that was in touch with senior state officials and had asked them to take the necessary decision to stop the bloodshed immediately as it could drag the country into a wave of violence and chaos. The Dawaa Salafya called on the cabinet to resign and issued a statement that condemned the violent clashes and warned against dragging the country into mobilisation of both sides, which would negatively affect social cohesion. The foreign ministry also formed a working group of senior officials to follow up on foreign reactions to the crisis and would supply Egyptian embassies with the requisite details and follow up on foreign media coverage of the events, according to the interior ministry. [90]

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies condemned the apparent use of excessive force and lethal violence by Egyptian security forces when dispersing the sit-in of protestors at Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares. In a statement, the institute said "The action left hundreds dead and thousands seriously injured, as well as dozens of bodies torched in still unexplained circumstances. We believe the security apparatus could have avoided this human tragedy if it had complied with international rules and standards for the dispersal of assemblies. Moreover, in the past weeks, the security authorities have failed to do their duty to take the necessary legal measures to protect public security and citizens, particularly residents and passersby in the aforementioned two areas" [93]

In October 2013, Egyptian Kung-Fu gold medalist Mohamed Youssef was recalled from Russia and given a one-year suspension from all national and international competitions for wearing a T-shirt containing the Rabia sign. [94] [95] [96] [97] In November 2013, Al-Ahly's Ahmed Abd El-Zaher was deprived of his Champions League win bonus, suspended and put up for sale in the January transfer window for a gesture in support of Morsi. [98] [99] [100] [101] On 5 December 2013, the Egyptian Football Association took sanctions a step further, announcing that Abd El-Zaher has been banned from representing Egypt for one year in addition to a 3-month local ban. [102]

International

Rights groups

On 10 December, thirteen Egyptian and international human rights organizations urged Cairo's interim authorities to probe the violence during the sit-in dispersal in the capital on 14 August. The joint call issued by organizations that included Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said an investigation must be launched into the killing of "up to 1,000 people by security forces" almost four months ago when they dispersed sit-ins by supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. "There can be no hope for the rule of law and political stability in Egypt, much less some modicum of justice for victims, without accountability for what may be the single biggest incident of mass killing in Egypt's recent history," said Gasser Abdel-Razak, associate director at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. "As a first step toward accountability, the government should establish an effective independent fact-finding committee to investigate responsibility throughout the chain of command for the unlawful killings," the rights groups said. They said that on 14 August a "small minority of protesters used firearms... but the police responded excessively by shooting recklessly, going far beyond what is permitted under international law." "After the unprecedented levels of violence and casualties seen since the ousting of Mohamed Morsi, investigations must provide real answers and cannot be another whitewash of the security forces' record," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty International said in the statement. "Egypt's authorities cannot deal with the carnage through PR in world's capitals, rewriting events and locking up Morsi's supporters." The groups also said the probe should determine whether there is any evidence of a policy to kill protesters or commit other serious crimes. [103]

Supranational bodies
The U.K., with France and Australia, called for an emergency closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council. [89]
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights leader Navi Pillay demanded an "independent, impartial and credible" probe into the dispersals and said that anyone found guilty of wrongdoing should be held to account. Spokeswoman Liz Throssell followed up the comments in saying that the office sought to human rights observers to Egypt after government approval. "We're calling to have human-rights officers allowed on the ground in Egypt so they can gather information, they can talk to NGOs, national human-rights institutions, draw up reports." [110]
States

The Nordic countries also advised against travel to Egypt as tour operators began cancelling trips to the country and bringing back those already in the country. [112]

Outside protests

Hundreds of people protested in favor of the Brotherhood and Morsi in Kuwait and chanted slogans against then-general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, while an unnamed cleric called on Kuwaitis to protest after Friday prayers outside of the U.S. embassy. [140] Other protests were held in Tel Aviv and Gaza, as well as Turkey, Tunisia and Jordan. [33] In Ankara, about 300 protesters gathered outside the Egyptian embassy, then went to the U.S. embassy and chanted anti-U.S. slogans and held up pictures of Morsi. [106] In Vienna, about 500 demonstrators, most of them Egyptians, gathered in St. Stephens Square, chanting Morsi's name. Organiser Ali Ibrahim of the Egyptian Community in Austria said that the protest was not in support of Morsi but "for democracy and the protection of freedom." After Friday prayers, thousands of protesters gathered in several cities across Indonesia, calling for an end to any violence in Egypt. [112] At a sit-in near the Egyptian embassy in Algiers, dozens of Egyptians, mostly students, protested against violence and denounced the events as "against the Egyptian people." [78]

Media

The New York Times called the dispersal the "clearest sign yet that the old Egyptian police state was re-emerging" and added that its reporters saw no evidence of weapon stockpiles in the protest camps. [20] Al Jazeera featured an article entitled "The Egyptian coup and the lessons of Turkey" with the sub-heading that military was backtracking on the democracy that Egyptians had fought for. [141] International commentators asked if this could lead Egypt into a civil war or even make the country a failed state. [142] Al Jazeera suggested that the Egypt conflict divided the U.S. and its other "longtime" regional partners over their stance on the issue. Qatari-owned Al Jazeera also singled out Qatar as an exception to Gulf Arab reactions in a supportive stance to the ones who ousted Morsi. It also highlighted the Gulf Arab reversion for the Muslim Brotherhood as a potential destabiliser to its own regimes. [143] Bloomberg suggested the U.S. was in bind as its regional allies were supporting different sides in Egypt. It also drew parallels for foreign support for Syrian rebels amongst its allies, yet different sides in the Egyptian conflict. It quoted Brian Katulis, a foreign policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, who said: "What we’re seeing in the Middle East is a competition for power and influence among the key states that are wealthier and have more resources. What Qatar and Turkey say is almost a 180-degree opposite of what the Emirates and the Saudis are saying publicly." [144]

Financial markets

Egyptian shares fell the most in two months. The benchmark EGX 30 Index slumped 3.9 percent, the most since 12 June to 5,334.55 at the 1:30 p.m. close in Cairo. About 332 million Egyptian pounds ($48 million) of shares traded, compared with a one-year daily average of 391 million pounds. Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE, the country’s biggest publicly traded lender, led a list of 29 decliners with a 5.4 percent dive. [145]

Other

Rabia sign

The Rabia sign. Rabia sign.svg
The Rabia sign.

As a result of the dispersal of the sit-ins, the Rabia sign (or R4BIA as some supporters call it) emerged widely among the pro-Morsi and pro-Brotherhood masses as a part of a protest campaign against the post-Morsi governmental authorities. [147] The origin of the sign is unclear. Raba'a means "fourth" in Arabic and the symbol was named after the Rabaa al-Adawiya square. Some credit its invention to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then Prime Minister of Turkey. [148]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic organization that was founded in Ismailia, Egypt by Hassan al-Banna in March 1928 as an Islamist religious, political, and social movement. The group spread to other Muslim countries but has its largest, or one of its largest, organizations in Egypt, where for many years it has been the largest, best-organized, and most disciplined political opposition force, despite a succession of government crackdowns in 1948, 1954, 1965 after plots, or alleged plots, of assassination and overthrow were uncovered. Following the 2011 Revolution the group was legalized, and in April 2011 it launched a civic political party called the Freedom and Justice Party (Egypt) to contest elections, including the 2012 presidential election when its candidate Mohamed Morsi became Egypt's first democratically elected president. One year later, however, following massive demonstrations, Morsi was overthrown by the military and arrested. As of 2014, the organization has been declared a terrorist group by Russia, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia and is once again suffering a severe crackdown.

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