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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Egypt's 'Accountability Friday' turns up the heat on Brotherhood rule

Violence erupted as pro and anti Muslim Brotherhood forces rallied in Tahrir Square; pro-democracy forces accuse the Islamist group of thuggery, a charge the groups denies

Salma Shukrallah , Saturday 13 Oct 2012
MB
Muslim Brotherhood's bus destryed after protesters set it on fire (Photo: Bel Trew)
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Following day-long street-battles in Tahrir Square between "Accountability Friday" protesters and supporters of Muslim Brotherhood’s President Mohamed Morsi, the latter have finally retreated from the iconic square. The clashes which were began when Morsi supporters attacked and destroyed a raised platform set up by the protesters leaving behind hundreds injured and an enraged crowd.

Demonstrations planned to mark Morsi's 100 days were quickly transformed into violent street battles with thousands running back and forth in the streets surrounding Tahrir, as rocks flew over all of the square's various entry points. Some waved socialist red flags, others the flags of the pro-democracy Constitution Party, led by Nobel laureate Mohamed Elbradei, while others held aloft banners of the Independent Federation of Trade Unions.

"The Brotherhood are attacking us," screamed one protester running towards Talaat Harb Square carrying a friend with obvious pellet-shot wounds in his leg.

"Sell out the revolution Badie [Brotherhood Supreme Guide]" and the familiar "The people demand the downfall of the Regime," the chants echoed across downtown Cairo.

As stones continued to hail down on the streets leading into the square, mainly in the now famous Mohamed Mahmoud Street, as well as in Talaat Harb Street, the square itself remained occupied by Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party members wearing caps carrying their party's name.

Wearing the party yellow cap, Mohamed Hassan, who identified himself as a Freedom and Justice Party member, told Ahram Online he was not aware of what initially started the fighting.

"This is strife!" he said adding "we came here to support the decision of our president Morsi to retire the prosecutor general."

As the clashes grew more violent, the chants of the crowd surrounding Hassan also got louder.

"The people support the president's decision," they chanted.

Morsi had made a hitherto failed attempt on Thursday to replace the current Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud following the acquittal by the Cairo Criminal Court of all 24 defendants, including top Mubarak regime officials, in the notorious “Battle of the Camel” attack on protesters in Tahrir during the early days of the anti-Mubarak revolution on 2 February 2011.

The president's decision was however rejected by Mahmoud who argued that such a decision was not within President Morsi’s mandate, as it violated judicial independence and the constitutional principle of the separation of powers.

Although Friday's protests were initially called for by leftists, liberal and nationalist forces to mark the end of Morsi's first 100-days, dubbing it "Accountability's Friday", the Muslim Brotherhood issued an 11th hour call upon their supporters to go to the square on the same day, ostensibly to protest the court’s ruling.

On the other hand, the “Accountability Friday” protest’s main demands, according to a joint statement published on Tuesday, included the dissolution of the current, Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly, and the formation of a new assembly representative of the plurality of Egyptian society.

The protesters also targeted what they felt had been the Morsi government’s failure to respond the demand for greater social justice, a key demand of the Egyptian revolution. The protest demanded progressive taxation, a fair minimum wage, a wage ceiling on the salaries of government and public sector officials, as well as the provision of low-priced basic commodities.

"We are here demanding a law guaranteeing the freedom of trade unions. The Brotherhood should take their hands off trade unions", said Fayza Mandy from the Independent Trade Union of Real Estate Tax Employees to Ahram Online shortly before clashes erupted.

"They are currently arresting workers," Mandy added referring to recent police crackdowns on labour strikes.

In an interview with privately-owned Egyptian TV channel ONTV Live, leading member of the Popular Egyptian Current Amin Iskandar angrily accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being responsible of the current situation.

"Our protest has been planned a long time ago; our demands were clear before the verdict of the battle of the camel come out, they made a mistake by deciding to go to Tahrir," said Iskandar.

As Brotherhood supporters started leaving the square at 6 pm, several busses parked near the adjacent Abdel-Moneim Riad Square, said by eyewitnesses to belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, were set on fire.

"Criminal mobs set on fire busses hired by the Freedom and Justice Party and parked near Tahrir Square. The party's legal committee will take the required steps", stated Vice Chairman of the FJP Member Essam El-Erian on his official twitter account.

"This is not the work of thugs, everyone always blames "thugs" who are they?! We are just taking our rights after the Brotherhood started throwing rocks at us, even used weapons, firing birdshot at us. What else were we supposed to do?" said one of the demonstrators.

Ali Abdel-Menoim, another demonstrator, stated "I'm against burning the buses, but also against the Muslim brotherhood coming to a peaceful protest with rocks".

"I came from Upper Egypt this morning, all the way to make my voice heard, against the way the constitution is being written, the mess Morsi has made of his first 100 days, and also the Battle of the Camel verdict", he added.

A black fog created by the torched buses clouded the area near the Egyptian Museum. Fire fighting trucks rushed to the scene to put out the blaze.

Doctor Amr Rasheed, in charge of ambulances in the field, told Ahram Online that the number of injuries has risen to hundreds, mainly reported were fractures and head injuries received by the Mounira and the Kasr El-Eini hospitals.

Protesters have re-occupied the iconic square after Muslim Brotherhood’s withdrawal, chanting slogans condemning the Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi. Banners carried aloft by protesters included a picture showing both Morsi and ousted President Hosni Mubarak with a caption that reads: "Morsi is Mubarak".

The April 6 Movement on the other hand released a statement it has withdrawn all its members from the scene, stressing it was opposed to the ongoing clashes, and declared it will instead be protesting before the Supreme Court against the Prosecutor General.

However, also blaming the Brotherhood for the violence, April 6 urged the Islamist group to "discipline" its members.

The Ministry of Interior released a statement later in the day after violence had come to an end urging all demonstrators to clear the streets.

Bel Trew contributed to this report

 

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14



mumby
13-10-2012 06:17pm
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Clashes resolved by police
Clashes should be resolved by police. It is not freedom of speech if there is clash. Democracy should respect,law and order should be applied. This is happen even in western countries.
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13



A.K.
13-10-2012 01:28pm
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9+
Democracy or LAW OF THE JUNGLE ?
If people want democracy, then the majority rule shall prevail, and the opposition role is to hold the Government to account (ie keep the bastards honest!). People are free to speak and demonstrate peacefully under the law. During authorised demonstrations, the security forces must ensure the safety of the protestors. If the Police failed to do their job, heads must be rolled ie Police Chief, the Minister or whoever responsible must be sacked. In a democratic country, debates take place in Parliament not by fighting in the streets. Now, the Egyptian people need to re-think the narrative of this new democracy as it is not appear to be a civilised one! Grow-up please and get rid of these old mind sets. MB and all other parties must have the interests of all people in their heart. ONE FINAL COMMENT : PLEASE do not blame the President for every stupid mistake by one of us - He can not clean the mess of 30-60 years in 90 days AND expect him to make mistakes .. he is human.
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12



Nilson
13-10-2012 12:16pm
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5+
the enemies of Islam and democracy
The true thugs are those who don't accept democracy. Egypt said its word, it wants the Brotherhood. The communists and fascists may go to hell. Allahu Akbar
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Timmy
15-10-2012 09:56pm
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1+
OBV
I have noticed you use exactly the same words that other posters use clearly you are part of the ikwan e mob. Democracy means there must be an oppisiton, you say there doesnt means you want a dictator, elections when ikwan only won by 1 % and only because many did not vote does not mean people want ikwan
11



A.Wosni
13-10-2012 11:56am
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24+
How come...?
Some Islamists have commented that the left is a tool of Zionism against Islam. I only want to ask them how come that among the first Palestinian forces to fight the Zionist state was the PFLP, founded and headed at that time by the christian Palestinian George Habashe, and later the DFLP led by Nayef Hawatmeh, both - rightfully or not - declaring themselves and their organization to be marxist, while Hamas was supported by the zionist state at those times, when even Fatah stood for a secular Palestine? And how come the ideological home of Sunni Islamists (not to be confounded with Muslims!) - Saudi Arabia - is a close collaborator of western imperialism, the main regional basis of which is Israel?
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muhammad
29-10-2012 05:23am
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low life MB
MB is legal terrorist org. should be closely watched by Israel.
10



Carole T.
13-10-2012 11:41am
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Brotherhood v. Secularists, etal
Isn't it interesting that when the Brotherhood wants to protest or have a public meeting all other groups are kept away i.e. the Coptic protest where the Brotherhood set up cars to block their access to the protest site. The security forces also get involved if Brotherhood groups look to be in trouble but if the Brotherhood are attacking there are no security forces in sight. The "promotion" of the Prosecutor General is just another Ikhwan move to put one of their supporters in that position but once again Morsi is thwarted by the constitution. I think everyone who isn't MB is fully aware of the MB modus operandi and those forces are mobilizing now to prepare for the Parlimentary elections.
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9



Nora
13-10-2012 07:15am
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The Leftover from Moubark Era
The opposition to President Morsi is mainly from Moubark's supporters. There elements within the Egyptian society that had it all during Moubark. They will not let go that easy. President Morsi has done in 100 days more ++ than Moubark in his 30 years. Let's unit for better future.
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A Woman
13-10-2012 12:58pm
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WRONG...
All what you say is definitively WRONG...
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Adly Mostafa
13-10-2012 02:28am
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INFORMATIVE
Very Informative, good journalism. Ikhwan should have never been in today's protest in the first place.
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7



Taz
13-10-2012 01:22am
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Up till now it was a wait and see..
kind of deal with me before I make any judgement on the brotherhood, but mobolizing their supporters in buses, slowly dismantling any oppositions in the media, army and now judiciary, and having Brotherhood memebers speaking on behalf of the president make them more of a cabal rather then a patroitic political party.
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6



amoon@live.com
12-10-2012 11:39pm
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Amoos Pharoon, Giza
Brotherhood gang killed thier first and originator of the group, Sheikh Hassan Elbanah. They will do wnything to fulfill their control including forging the last election. We will never surrounder to backward people. Rabinah Ma'sana.
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A.K.
15-10-2012 08:13am
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Have a decent argument please
Freedom of speech and expression does not mean insulting each other and fighting in the streets. Please have decency and courtesy in your comments and to each other. Need to have civilised discussion.
Raed
13-10-2012 12:45am
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This site shoulsn't post lies disguised as opinions
you lie through your teeth. You fornicate with truth and history.
5



Karim
12-10-2012 10:06pm
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oxymoron
"pro-democracy forces accuse the Islamist group of thuggery". if this people are pro-democracy than they would respect the outcome of the election.
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Timmy
13-10-2012 12:13am
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You dont understand democracy
Democracy means there must be an oppistion, which means the ikwan trying to attack oppistion MEANS THE IKWAN ARE DICTATORS. Also Karim you are making the same post as all ikwan e-militia, people are no longer fooled by your methods of trying to lie about the meaning of democracy
Aladdin, Egypt
12-10-2012 11:35pm
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Farce Election
The court prove election was farce and Brotherhood did not tell the truth about their hidden agenda of religious dictatorship and association with criminal extrimists.
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