November 20, 2013, Cairo: On November 20, a car bomb in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killed at least ten Egyptian soldiers and wounded 35 people. The assault was allegedly carried out by a suicide bomber, and is being called one of the most lethal attacks since the violence was escalated by militants in the wake of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s downfall on July 3, 2013. A separate bomb attack on a Cairo security checkpoint wounded three.
On Monday, November 4, Mohamed Morsi walked into a makeshift courtroom for his new role as a defendant in a murder trial, having been held incommunicado for four months since he was overthrown as president. Human rights advocates have accused the former president of playing a role in a bloody altercation that took place in December 2012 killing ten people, eight of whom were Morsi Islamist supporters.
During the days leading up to the deaths, uprisings had begun to occur, including reported incidences of aggressive supporters encircling the presidential palace, some throwing fire bombs over its walls. Neither the presidential guards nor the police intervened in these uprisings. Allegedly, the police officers later boasted about defying him. On December 5, leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood publicly called for the president’s Islamist supporters to take responsibility of protecting Morsi themselves.
On June 30, mass protests brought pro- and anti-Morsi supporters to the streets. The Minister of Defense, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, responded to these protests by ousting President Morsi. Since July 3, pro-Morsi supporters have been continuously protesting in the streets of Egypt. The protests are mainly cries against what Morsi supporters refer to as a “military coup.”
Then on August 14, the police, with the help of snipers and bulldozers, attacked Muslim Brotherhood-led sit-ins. Reports say that around 1,000 were killed that day and in the aftermath of the attacks, upwards of 4,000 were injured. These attacks brought many people to sympathize with Morsi and his supporters.
In the wake of the August 14 massacre, the Egyptian media supported the military leader, el-Sisi. However, the people began to agree that the role of the military in politics is corruptive to Egyptian society and that the military should focus on protecting borders and providing national security. Furthermore, more people supported Morsi as the legitimate ruler of the nation, given that he was elected democratically and therefore should remain president until his term expired.
No one can deny that achieving stability in Egypt will be an extended process that will take many years of hard work and collaboration between the ruling parties. To achieve this goal, Egypt must determine how the law can be upheld without violating human rights.
Unfortunately, Egyptian police have been hindering efforts to protect human rights before and since Egypt’s 2011 revolution. These rights include but are not limited to the freedom of speech and thought – the primary problem between the people and the government, which results in negative economic, social and psychological progress in the community.
Global Majority urges the leaders and political parties of the Egyptian community to end this unrest peacefully and without exclusion of any political faction.
By: Omar Raslan – Policy Analysis Associate, Global Majority