On Saturday, Egypt was plagued by violent clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces, killing dozens and injuring many more. At least 29 died in the violence on Saturday, on what was the third anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s removal from power in Egypt, the January 25 revolution.
Those in Egypt who cheered the fall of Mubarak and the rise of the now-deposed Mohammed Morsi have little to celebrate. With his removal this past summer, Morsi supporters in Egypt have seen growing repression from the military-led government.
Saturday at nearly 30 people were killed in violence between security forces and demonstrators, according to Egyptian officials. At least another 167 people were injured in these clashes. The true number of casualties in Egypt, however, may be larger. Pro-Morsi leaders have discouraged protesters wounded in street confrontations to avoid public health services. Many Egyptians fear arrest or other retribution for playing a role in the banned demonstrations.
Ahead of the revolution’s anniversary, an alliance of Muslim Brotherhood activists in Egypt urged angry supporters to take to Cairo’s streets. There was a strong push for anti-military demonstrators to gather at several dozen places around the city. However, many gatherings were dispersed as police forces were swift and heavy-handed in their move against the anti-government crowds.
— Ahdaf Soueif (@asoueif) January 25, 2014
An university student who participated in one rally in Egypt Saturday recalls “gas bomb” attacks from security forces. As the march changed courses, police began firing on the crowd with live rounds. According to one opposition group, nine people died in a single neighborhood in East Cairo. In many places, continuous gunfire was heard for hours. As one man in Egypt near the centers of conflict puts it, “it’s like a war.”
— RyanR ريان (@Messrologist) January 25, 2014
One neighborhood, known for its Islamist leanings, was struck with a bomb. At least one Egyptian was injured. Four blasts felt across Cairo on Friday were claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The group is known to the US as an Egypt-based terror group. It is likely Saturday’s bombings can be linked to the Islamist group.
Faced with widespread violence and an intense police crackdown, at least one group has called for an end of demonstrations in Egypt this weekend. Fearing death, injury, and arrest, the pro-democracy Revolutionary Front urged anti-government protesters to stay home. The forceful response from police, the group says, should be “considered a major crime added to the list of crimes by the current authorities” in Egypt.
Within the same day unidentified gunmen in Suez assaulted a security outpost. They reportedly used a rocket-propelled grenade. At least four people were injured.
While clashes occurred between security officers and anti-coup demonstrators, pro-military rallies populated Tahrir Square. Thousands gathered to show their support, many waving Egyptian flags and carrying banners bearing the likeness of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Though they are also celebrating the January 25 revolution, many believe Egypt’s military acted justly in removing Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood last year.
[Header image via Twitter / RyanR]