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Supporters of 3 July 2013: Where are they now?

Ahram Online catches up with some of the key players in the 30 June 2013 protests that led to the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi

Omar Halawa, Friday 3 Jul 2015
Sisi 3 July 2013
Then General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi addresses the nation from behind a podium. Sitting behind him are leaders including Mohamed ElBaradei, far left, Tamarod leader Mahmoud Badr, second left, Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, third from right, and Pope Tawadros II, second from right in Cairo, Egypt Wednesday, July 3, 2013 (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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On 3 July 2013, defense minister Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi appeared on TV to announce the removal of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, following mass protests against him nationwide since 30 June.

"The army could not turn a blind eye to the Egyptian people's call for it to reclaim its national role, not its political one," said Sisi in his first official speech. "The army announces that it will remain out of politics, but it has been insightful enough to understand that Egyptians are calling for the military institution's support, not demanding that it rule or take over power."

By the end of the speech, Sisi had announced that several steps would follow Morsi's removal, most notably suspending the 2012 constitution drafted by a committee dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, as well as appointing the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC), Adly Mansour, as interim president.

As he gave his speech, Sisi was surrounded by members of the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF), such as military chief-of-staff Sedki Sobhi and military intelligence chief Mahmoud Hegazy, Al-Azhar's Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb, civilian politicians and activists like Mohamed ElBaradei and Tamarod movement founders Mahmoud Badr and Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, Pope Tawadros II of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church and a sole Islamist representative, Bassam El-Zarqa from the Salafist Nour Party.

Two years on, where do all these figures now stand in Egypt's political landscape?

Mohamed ElBaradei

Mohamed ElBaradei
Mohamed ElBaradei (Photo: Reuters)

Mohamed ElBaradei was the general coordinator for the National Salvation Front (NSF), founded in November 2012 to represent major civil parties and movements opposing Morsi. Six days after Morsi's ouster, the former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director was appointed interim vice president.

"We are facing three main challenges: First we need to stop all acts of violence and launch a dialogue to end the crisis, then we should all participate in the implementation of the roadmap that we agreed upon, and finally we need to see how we will live together as a reconciled society that offers security for all Egyptians, including the Muslim Brotherhood," said the Constitution Party founder on 30 June 2013, at a time when some news outlets reported that ElBaradei disagreed with the government's stance towards the Brotherhood.  

On 14 August 2014, ElBaradei resigned from his post in protest at the bloody clearing of two sit-ins supporting Morsi in greater Cairo. The clearing left 703 killed, according to a government-formed fact-finding committee. His resignation sparked harsh criticism.

ElBaradei left the country and is now living in Austria and put his political activity on hold. He has however given a number of interviews to foreign media, in which he has been critical of the Egyptian military. Recently, he indirectly criticised human rights abuses in Egypt via Twitter. 

Mahmoud Badr, Mohamed Abdel-Aziz

Mahmoud Badr, Mohamed Abdel-Aziz and Hassan Shaheen
From right to left: Mahmoud Badr, Mohamed Abdel-Aziz and Hassan Shaheen (Photo: Mahmoud Badr's Facebook account)

In April 2013, Mahmoud Badr and Mohamed Abdel-Aziz launched the Tamarod movement, whose name means "Rebellion" in Arabic, in Cairo's Tahrir square, calling for a withdrawal of confidence in Morsi and early presidential elections. The movement claimed that it gathered 22 million signatures for both demands ahead of 30 June.

Following Morsi's removal, the movement witnessed internal splits and mass resignations, especially in southern Egypt, where supporters complained of being marginalised by the Cairo central office.

But the major internal split took place when Abdel-Aziz and another co-founder, Hassan Shahin, announced their support for Nasserite figure Hamdeen Sabahi in the 2014 presidential elections against Sisi.

Badr decided to expel Abdel-Aziz and Shahin as the movement's official decision was to support Sisi. He said at a press conference in February 2014 that the decision was "unanimous" and had been discussed by movement representatives from 22 governorates.  

Nowadays, Abdel-Aziz serves as a senior board member of Sabahi's Popular Current, and press reports suggest he might run in long-awaited parliamentary elections. Badr has not taken part in any major political activity since the High Administrative Court in January upheld a decision by the political parties committee to reject the establishment of a Tamarod political party.

Ahmed El-Tayeb

Ahmed ElTayeb

Ahmed El-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, the most prestigious institution in Sunni Islam, was a supporter of the roadmap set out by the military following Morsi's ouster, but he vowed to retreat from the political scene in protest at the "bloodshed" that took place in front of Cairo's military-affiliated Presidential Guards Club that left 51 Brotherhood supporters killed on 8 July 2013.

However, after the attacks on several churches around Egypt following the dispersal of the Cairo sit-ins on 14 August, El-Tayeb blamed the Brotherhood for spreading violence. He said: "Al-Azhar continually asserts the sanctity of churches and any assaults against them are unrelated to Islam in any way. You know that attempts to drag the country into sectarian strife will fail."

El-Tayeb's neutral stance towards the 14 August dispersal sparked the criticism of many anti-military voices, and since then the grand imam has distanced himself from politics.

The 69-year-old still heads Egypt's thousand-year-old seat of Islamic learning, but his institution has been criticised for not being able to combat either extremist or atheist trends in Egyptian society.

Pope Tawadros II

Pope Tawadros

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II was not an outspoken critic of the Brotherhood regime, but he officially condemned then president Morsi's April 2013 statement in which he blamed the Copts for clashing with security forces in front of Cairo's Abbassiya cathedral, following sectarian strife in a village in the Delta governorate of Qalioubiya.

Following Morsi's ouster, the main privilege that Copts gained was Article 3 of the 2014 constitution. Unlike prior Egyptian constitutions, the article stipulated: "The principles of Christian and Jewish law are the main source of legislation for Egyptian Christians and Jews that regulate their respective personal status, religious affairs, and the selection of spiritual leaders." Previously, both the 1971 and 2012 constitutions had stated that Islamic Sharia law was the sole source of legislation.

On the eve of 7 January 2015, Sisi attended Coptic Christmas mass in Cairo. It was the first time that an Egyptian president ever attended the religious occasion. He gave a brief speech asserting that Muslims and Christians are "one entity" in the eyes of the world.

Bassam El-Zarqa

Bassam ElZarqa

Bassem El-Zarqa, vice-president of the Salafist Nour Party, used to be Morsi's presidential aide, but he resigned on 17 February 2013 in protest at the president's decree to sack another aide, senior Nour Party member Khaled Alam El-Din.

Although his party used to be an ally of the Brotherhood at the beginning of Morsi's rule, its leaders then became outspoken critics of his policies.

They supported the roadmap following Morsi's removal, and Nour is the only Islamist faction that has not faced severe security crackdowns since. However, media reports at the time claimed that the party might lose some of its supporters who were angry with the party's policy of supporting the military against the Brotherhood. 

Sedki Sobhi, Mahmoud Hegazy

Sedky Sobhy and Mahmoud Hegazy

Both military generals were members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Force (SCAF) that took control following the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak. Sedki Sobhi was commander of the Third Army, while Mahmoud Hegazy was chief of the Management and Administration Authority.

Under Morsi, Sobhi was made military chief-of-staff, while Hegazy became the military intelligence chief. But when Sisi announced that he was running for the presidency in March 2014, Sobhi became the minister of defence and Hegazy replaced Sobhi as chief-of-staff.

Others present behind Sisi when he made his speech on 3 July 2013 also include: Hamed Abdullah, the then head of the Supreme Judicial Council, General Mohamed El-Assar, SCAF member, General Younes El-Masry, Commander of the Egyptian Air Force, General Ossama El-Gendy, the then Commander of the Egyptian Navy, General Abdel-Moniem Altras, Commander of Egyptian Air Defence Force, and finally former presidential aide to Morsi and a feminist figure, Sekina Fouad.

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