35 people have been killed by the Egyptian police and military during riots led by the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. The riots and associated protests began last Friday and have continued every day since.
The protests and riots appear designed to discredit both the junta and next Monday’s parliamentary elections which would begin the process of peacefully replacing the junta with a civilian government. The protesters demand that the junta skip the elections and immediately surrender power to a council of leaders of the most aggressive groups, and the timing of a severe disruption immediately before the elections shows how little the protesters care for popular rule. The use of violence, forcing the military to use violence in return, has predictably discredited the military. If the violence forces the junta to postpone the elections, both will be severely discredited. If the violence continues into the elections and voters are harassed, the rioters will gain the dual benefit of discrediting the election and suppressing the opposing vote.
Notes and links:
- An early report (no link, sorry) claimed that leftist parties were avoiding the rally, but newer reports say they have joined it. The Muslim Brotherhood now claims to have nothing to do with it.
- The protesters were explicit in their rejection of free elections leading to a new Constitution.
- The April 6th Youth Movement has joined in the call for the junta to immediately surrender to a government of “National Salvation”.
- The High Elections Committee has announced that any attempt to delay the elections would be illegal.
- The Egyptian Revolution Party, led by Tarek Zeidan, has withdrawn from the elections in protest of the violence. I do not know how influential he is.
- The junta has agreed to create a “National Salvation” government, but its form remains to be seen.
- Violence continues, with rioters assaulting the interior ministry.
A few notes on US involvement:
- Three US students at the American University in Cairo have been accused of attacking Egyptian police.
- Demonstrators in the US marched in support of the Muslim Brotherhood. I could find no report on this in the US.
- Amy Goodman and Sharif Abdel Kouddos of Democracy Now repeat the Muslim Brotherhood’s propaganda and denounce the planned elections.