The Islamist-based supporters of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi have called for a "day of anger" on Friday after over 600 people were killed and thousands were injured in a violent military crackdown that began on Wednesday. And with the military already promising to use lethal force in response to anything interpreted as an "attack" on the police or on buildings, many are bracing for what seems to be a continuation of the bloodshed. Dozens of marches will move towards Ramsis square in Cairo tomorrow in a coordinated effort to demonstrate support for the pro-Morsi protesters.
The Muslim Brotherhood coalition of those who support the ousted government, with their leaders in jail or otherwise keeping quiet, will take to the streets again tomorrow to protest the removal of their camps after the early July uprising that led to the toppling of the government they supported. Meanwhile, pro-Morsi protesters have collected the bodies of hundreds of dead Egyptians in a mosque serving as a makeshift morgue. As the New York Times reports, pro-Morsi Egyptians are frustrated that the violent crackdown on their protests hasn't led to more popular support within their own country:
Many of those waiting outside the makeshift morgue talked of civil war. Some blamed members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority for supporting the military takeover. A few argued openly for a turn to violence.
“The solution might be an assassination list,” said Ahmed, 27, who like others refused to use his full name for fear of reprisals from the new authorities. “Shoot anyone in uniform. It doesn’t matter if the good is taken with the bad, because that is what happened to us last night.”
Mohamed Rasmy, a 30-year-old engineer, interrupted. “That is not the solution,” he said, insisting that Islamist leaders would re-emerge with a plan “to come together in protest.” Despite the apparently wide support for the police action by the private news media and much of Cairo, he argued that the bloodshed was now turning the rest of the public against the military-appointed government.
As the Times notes, most of Cairo, along with the Egyptian press, seem to be siding with the military. But as a Cairo dispatch from The Week notes, the two sides — Islamists or the military, are something of a construction that doesn't bode well for the coming days, "The atmosphere is so polarized almost everyone here is minimizing the atrocities of one group and exaggerating those of the other." According to the AP, here's what the Egyptian press is saying about the protests and ensuing crackdown:
State-run TV and newspapers, meanwhile, are filled with commentators and other content full of anti-Brotherhood sentiment, often portraying Islamists as enemies of the people and tapping into nationalistic fervor by alleging that the Brotherhood is a violent group that is secretly enlisting foreign help against the rest of Egyptians and that views Egypt as just a part in a greater Muslim nation that transcends borders.
Meanwhile, some Islamists have burned the churches of Coptic Christians in the country, a religious minority that makes up about 10 percent of the population. Copts, along with many more moderate and liberal Egyptians have sided with the military in the current crackdown, despite the high death toll.
And even as the international community steps up their condemnation of the violence this week, the limitations of those words have been cast in a stark light in recent days. President Obama cancelled a planned joint military exercise with Egypt (no word yet on weather he'll cancel military aid or not), and the U.N. called for "maximum restraint" in the country going forward. But if the past two days are any indication, words from the international community are barely registering — or relevant — on Cairo's streets as the clashes continue.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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