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Muslim Brotherhood defends stance on Mohamed Mahmoud clashes

Muslim Brotherhood releases statement affirming role in 2011 uprising, denying post-revolution 'deals' with military

Ahram Online , Sunday 24 Nov 2013
Mohamed Mahmoud
Protesters run from tear gas released by riot police during clashes after a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of fatal clashes at Mohamed Mahmoud street, in the vicinity of the Interior Ministry, in Cairo November 21, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Facing accusations by revolutionary groups that the Muslim Brotherhood "betrayed the revolution" when they condemned protesters during the 2011 Mohamed Mahmoud clashes, the group released a statement on Sunday in defence of their actions.

"For two years, in particular since the unfortunate events of Mohamed Mahmoud, the Muslim Brotherhood has faced sharp accusations, including that they abandoned the revolutionaries for their own private interests ... that they sacrificed the revolution and its goals ... these accusations have increased with the second anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud," the statement began.

The Muslim Brotherhood statement defended the group, asserting that its youth had participated in the revolution that ousted long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 even before the organisation formally backed it.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood was accused of "striking deals" with the military following the revolution, the statement argues that the group held several demonstrations against army privileges during that time. The statement cited a protest against then-deputy prime minister Ali El-Selmi's 2011 memorandum, which promised a special role for the military in Egypt's post-revolution constitution.

The statement further defended the Muslim Brotherhood's position during the Mohamed Mahmoud protests, which pitted protesters against police in six days of clashes that left 47 dead. The statement argued that although the group had agreed with protesters' wish to remove the SCAF from the political scene, they disagreed with the means, arguing instead for elections.

The Mohamed Mahmoud clashes marked the beginning of a movement that opposed both the SCAF and the Muslim Brotherhood, which was seen as an ally of the then-ruling military.

Muslim Brotherhood members and the group's Islamist allies had repeatedly described the protesters as "thugs," and some claimed they were paid to demonstrate against the military.

On the second anniversary of the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes last week, protesters chanted against both military rule and the Muslim Brotherhood, preventing supporters of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi as well as Islamists from demonstrating in the iconic Tahrir Square.

Since the popularly-backed military ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July, the Muslim Brotherhood – from which the former president hails – has turned against the military. The group has faced a growing security crackdown in the ouster's wake, with several leading and mid-level members now in prison.

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