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article imagePro-Morsi supporters in Egypt in call for 'million man march'

By Robert Myles     Jul 30, 2013 in World
Cairo - Tension in Egypt showed no sign of abating any time soon as supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi called for “a million demonstrators” to take to the streets Tuesday, July 30, to demand Morsi's reinstatement.
Morsi was ejected from his role as Egyptian President, having previously been elected in a democratic vote, on July 3 by the Egyptian Army. Morsi’s removal from power had all the hallmarks of a military coup, but for many Western nations, it is the coup that dare not speak its name. To do so would, in the case particularly of the United States, scupper the lucrative trade in arms supplies to Egypt as US law specifically bans arms exports to any country whose democratically elected government has been ejected by non-democratic means.
In a statement yesterday, Islamist groups, supporters of ousted President Morsi, announced, “We call for a march on Tuesday of one million people under the slogan 'the martyrs of the coup.”
The call by pro-Morsi groups, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, comes as no surprise following the Egyptian Army having been accused of opening fire, Saturday past, on Islamist supporters of the ousted President encamped around the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo. In those incidents, BBC News put the death toll at over 70 but some reports suggested as many as 150 Muslim Brotherhood supporters were specifically targeted, with many dying of a single bullet wound to the head.
Yesterday saw further demonstrations as the Muslim Brotherhood staged three smaller marches, one converging on the Egyptian Army’s military intelligence HQ, with others heading towards the home of Egypt’s Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim and another on a road to the airport. Yesterday’s protests appear to have passed off peacefully and a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad el-Haddaf, told the BBC there had been no intervention by the Egyptian military and no confrontations.
After Saturday’s fatalities, both sides blamed each other for the clashes, the worst since President Morsi was forced from office. Protestors accused elements of the Egyptian Army of deliberately firing on demonstrators but there were claims from Egypt’s Interior Ministry that crowd control was restricted to use of tear gas and that the Egyptian Army had come under fire from demonstrators.
The Interior Ministry’s version of events was not supported by a number of human rights organizations. Al-Arabiya reports that nine groups, including the prominent Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, had called for Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim’s resignation, referring to Egyptian forces as having carried out a “massacre”. In joint statement the human rights groups said, “The interior minister should be dismissed and held accountable for his actions. The minister’s responsibility is not mitigated by the fact that some demonstrators first shot at the police or local residents or that they cut vital roads or built cement barriers to obstruct traffic. The Egyptian security forces’ recurrent use of excessive, lethal violence in the face of political protest will only exacerbate the political ills that led Egyptian society to rebel.”
But the same organizations also urged the Muslim Brotherhood to act with restraint. Calling on the Muslim Brotherhood to renounce violence, the groups’ statement said, “Members and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood who reject political violence and incitement to religious and sectarian hatred must take action to persuade their colleagues and leaders to renounce these methods.”
Despite Saturday’s deaths, Egypt’s National Defence Council, comprising both interim government and military members, appears to be in no mood to compromise. On Sunday, it warned that "firm and decisive" action would be taken against protesters whose actions go beyond peaceful protests.
Clearly, the National Defence Council wish to see order maintained but the danger is that today’s protest demanded by the Muslim Brotherhood will see Egypt further polarised if there is any repeat of Saturday’s events around Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. As Al-Ahram, quoting from the human rights groups’ statement put it, "If the current violent political polarisation continues amid the continued absence of political will to achieve justice…Egyptians can hope for nothing more than fewer victims at future massacres."
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More about Mohamed Morsi, Muslim brotherhood, Egyptian coup, egyptian revolution, democracy in Egypt
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