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Egyptians reflect on recent killings

Cairo residents reflect on the shootings and protests which have rocked the country over the past week.

Last Modified: 01 Aug 2013 11:28
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Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi pray during a sit-in [GALLO/GETTY]

Nights of running street battles in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt have left scores dead, but two particular massacres that killed many have made their mark, one way or the other, on the Egyptian psyche.

The first took place in front of the Republican Guard headquarters on July 8, when at least 50 supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi were killed in gun fights. The government blames the clash on a group of "armed terrorists" it said tried to storm its headquarters. The Muslim Brotherhood said police and security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters.

On July 24, General Abdel Fattah El Sisi, called for a massive pro-military rally in Tahrir Square. He said mass participation would give him a mandate to crackdown on "terrorism". A large crowd turned out, spilling out of the square and onto the streets of downtown Cairo, roughly 20km away from the weeks-long pro-Morsi sit-in.

That's where at least 27 people were killed after protesters on the outskirts of the pro-Morsi vigil in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City neighbourhood clashed with security forces early on Saturday morning.

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Again, the Muslim Brotherhood accused the security forces of using live ammunition on unarmed protesters and demanded that those responsible be held accountable.

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, meanwhile denied that security forces used live ammunition on the crowd, and again, reiterated the promise to clear pro-Morsi sit-ins in Nasr City and in Giza.

The handling of the shootings has prompted a number of Egyptian rights groups to demand that the Muslim Brotherhood refrain from violence while calling for Ibrahim's dismissal.

Still, Morsi's supporters have vowed to remain on the streets until the he is reinstated as president, which makes the possibility of another violent episode seem more likely.

With that in mind, Al Jazeera took to the streets of the capital to ask Egyptians for their views on the killings and their opinions on if and how the sit-ins should be cleared.

Ramy Kamal Labib, 36, media marketing director
Ramy Kamal Labib [Al Jazeera]

I'm very sad that people are dying on the streets, but I'm also very sad that the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood push people to die for them, for their security. They motivate them to create a bad image for the Egyptian army… there are rules for everything, and the Muslim Brotherhood wants to break all the rules now. On the 25th of January, we went to Tahrir [Square] and we protested and we didn't make it violent.

[When asked about the sit-ins being cleared out] I think they [police] will be very smart and not cause a catastrophe. They will do many things before trying to enter Rabba... but I'm sure the Muslim Brotherhood will attack first, because this is their role. They want to show the world that the Egyptian army or police will kill people.

Ahmed Tohani, housing good store manager, 25

Ahmed Tohani [Al Jazeera]

What happened is absolutely a military coup. If the current government claims it is pro-democracy, it should offer an inclusive solution that takes into account the other side [the Muslim Brotherhood]. What happened [in front of the Republican National Guard] was completely unacceptable and unfair. The police shot peaceful people while they were praying. If the Ministry of the Interior ends the Rabba sit-in, there will be a civil war. They've killed many people already, but it hasn't ended yet in an explosion. But if they end the sit-in, this will end in civil war.

May Aly, 36, writer

May Aly [Al Jazeera]

The Egyptian army is not entitled to kill any Egyptians, so the question is, why are the members of the Muslim Brotherhood killings each other? They use children and women at the sit-ins to protect themselves? I don't believe in their declared 'jihad' and I don't believe this is Islam. Why aren't the leaders of the Brotherhood on the frontlines of these marches? Why just poor people? The Muslim Brotherhood is sacrificing poor people. The Muslim Brotherhood is lying to the US when it calls for international intervention.

How would any government behave if they had similar sit-ins? The protesters at these sit-ins are armed. They are not peaceful. The government has given them enough time to go home and they are not still blocking roads.

Mohamed Ibrahim, 50, realtor (pictured with daughter, Huwaida, 6)

Mohamed Ibrahim [Al Jazeera]

I think that the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] isn't accepting what happened. They don't want to believe that Morsi won't be back. I blame the Brotherhood for the killings. Even if there are 1 million of them, there are 90 million Egyptians who want to live their lives. The people in Rabaa are deceived by religious slogans. I back the decision of the Ministry of Interior to clear them because they [Rabaa sit-in] are causing harm to the neighbourhood.

Alaadeen Mohamed Mohamed, 44, owner of mobile accessories shop and cafe

Alaadeen Mohamed Mohamed [Al Jazeera]

In the first massacre against the Muslim Brotherhood, they attacked a military installation. I think the Muslim Brotherhood is an international terrorist group and that the police and military should act against them. They deserve whatever happens to them, because the Ministry of the Interior warned them many times to leave. If the sit-in is in front your house, with groups blocking the road and urinating under your balcony. How would you act? El Sisi is a national hero.

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Al Jazeera
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