Bonus: The Muslim Brotherhood Part 3

Bonus: The Muslim Brotherhood Part 3

Morsi was extremely popular when he was elected. But that popularity began to slide over the first year of his Presidency.

Many things were stacked against him. He was tussling with the military and the Supreme Court, the Egyptian media criticized in a way they never did with Mubarak, Egypt’s economy was suffering from almost two years of protests and rioting, and the military had spent most of Egypt’s financial reserves.

The Tamarod Movement

  1. Furthermore, the nation’s infrastructure, was still under the control of Mubarak supporters. Some speculate that these people conspired to limit things such as fuel and gas which led to rolling blackouts.
    1. This further damaged Egypt’s economy and contributed to Morsi’s growing unpopularity
    2. As he saw these challenges continue to stack against him, Morsi surrounded himself more with Muslim Brotherhood supporters and seemed to play towards his Muslim Brotherhood base of support
    3. This just fueled accusations that Morsi was unwilling to work with others
  2. In April 2013, a campaign began to demand Morsi’s resignation. The proponents called for massive demonstrations leading up to June 30th, marking one year of Morsi’s administration
    1. On June 28, the protests began and gained steam over the next two days.
    2. By June 30, the Tamarod movement had millions of people back in Tahrir square, protesting against Morsi.
    3. There were also thousands protesting for Morsi, but it was the anti-Morsi demonstrators that got all the coverage.
    4. There were more deadly clashed throughout Egypt between pro and anti-Morsi demonstrators. They Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo were attacked and burned
    5. On July 1st, as the demonstrations intensified, the military’s top general, Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi issued a statement: Morsi had 48 hours to get things under control, or they would step in.
    6. That statement ultimately showed who had the real power in Egypt.
    7. When the Tamarod movement heard this, they knew this meant the government would overthrow Morsi. This only made them more determined to continue protesting
    8. On July 2nd, Morsi gave a speech admitting that he made mistakes, but also blaming pro-Mubarak supporters for the protests and riots. He ended by stating that he was the legitimate President of Egypt and would rather die than abandon that legitimacy.
    9. On July 3rd, the military invaded the Presidential palace and arrested Mohammed Morsi and several of his guards
    10. The anti-Morsi protestors cheered, lit fireworks, and celebrated when Morsi was overthrown.
    11. The Imam of Al-Azhar University, the head of the Coptic Church, Mohammed ElBaradei, and many others influential Egyptians spoke in favor of Morsi’s arrest.
    12. They had built barricades, bathroom facilities, and were prepared to stay for the long haul
  3. The following days saw arrests of several members of Morsi’s cabinet, and Muslim Brotherhood leadership. They also arrested members of the Muslim Brotherhood political party, FJP.
  4. Then there were more clashes between angry pro-Morsi supporters and the Tamarod movement.
    1. The pro-Morsi crowd stated they would protest until the coup was reversed and the anti-Morsi crowd said they would protest to protect the coup.
    2. Throughout the rest of July there were various clashes and protests between these two groups.
    3. Most of this took place during Ramadan.

The Rabaa Massacre

  1. This violence culminated with the Rabaa Massacre on August 14, 2013
    1. Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi supporters were camped at two different locations in Cairo: Nahda Square and Raba’a Al-Adawiya Masjid. They started the same time the anti-Morsi protests started, June 28th.
    2. The pro-Morsi group at Raba’a had grown very large throughout July. By early August, it was like a small city with makeshift barber shops, stores, and restaurants.
      1. Women and children also moved into the camps as the standoff continued
      2. These protestors had vowed not to leave until Morsi was returned to office.
    3. The military tried to break up pro-Morsi protests twice during July, killing 72 protestors the second time.
      1. The US, UAE, EU, and other international group tried to broker a peaceful resolution.
      2. All attempts failed and everyone began to worry there would be a violent crackdown. Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr had ended and the military was growing impatient.
    4. On August 11th, the Egyptian police announced they would begin breaking up the protests within 24 hours.
    5. The police reported that some Muslim Brotherhood members had guns, which prompted this warning.
    6. In the early morning hours of August 14th, the police began their attack. The military provided security for the police, but did not take an active role.
    7. It began with the police firing tear gas into the two camps while helicopters flew overhead relaying positions and firing down on the protestors.
    8. The smaller camp at Nahda Square was cleared pretty quickly. The protestors there mostly ran into the nearby Cairo University or the botanical gardens.
    9. But the larger camp, at Raba’a Al-Masjid would take 12 hours to clear
    10. After the tear gas, the police moved in wearing riot gear and driving armored vehicles.
    11. The police used live ammunition against the protestors who hid behind barricades throwing rocks.
    12. Police snipers in the buildings surrounding the mosque fired into the tents set up by the protestors.
    13. The Police used bulldozers to smash through the barricades. They also set fires to some of the tents as they swept through the camp. Several bodies would be found later on burned beyond recognition.
    14. As the death toll rose, the Masjid became a medical triage for the wounded.
    15. There are lots of pictures and videos online showing the carnage. Hundreds of dead protesters, blood all over the street, horrific gunshot wounds.
    16. As news of the attack spread, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters tried to join the Raba’a camp. But routes to the area were cut off by the police and military.
    17. By the next day, over 600 protestors and about 40 police were killed. Four journalists covering the protests from the beginning were also killed.
    18. The Raba’a massacre is still cited today by Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers. From that a special symbol was created to commemorate the event.
    19. The Raba’a massacre sparked more violence and riots across Egypt, mostly from Muslim Brotherhood supporters angry about the coup and the killings.

Military Crackdown on the Brotherhood

  1. Following the massacre, military and interim government continued to arrest Muslim Brotherhood members. The Muslim Brotherhood supreme leader was arrested in late September. Then the main Muslim Brotherhood newspaper was shut down.
    1. As the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was torn apart, their affiliates around the world also seemed in crisis.
    2. Muslim Brotherhood offices around the Middle East either disavowed the Muslim Brotherhood, were in a political mess due to their own ineptitude, or were forced to shut down by their governments.
    3. Clashes between the Muslim Brotherhood and the new military backed interim government continued, but the government was clearly winning.
    4. The government also outlawed rallies and protests which gave them authority to attack and break up any gatherings thereafter
  2. There were also several attacks against police stations, but the Muslim Brotherhood always denounced them.
    1. In late December 2013, a car-bomb exploded outside of police headquarters just north of Cairo killing 14 people.
    2. The Muslim Brotherhood denounced the attack and said they had nothing to do with it.
    3. However, the government blamed Muslim Brotherhood for it and declared them a terrorist organization. This made it much easier for the government to crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and use much more draconian measures.
  3. By early 2014 trials had begun for the hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters now held in Egyptian jails.
    1. In March 2014, an unprecedented 529 Muslim Brotherhood members were sentenced to death at the same time. They were officially tried for the deaths of a policeman during the protests the previous year. Their trial lasted only two days.
    2. This was more than the total number of death sentences handed out in Egypt in the past three years combined.
  4. That same month, Saudi Arabia also designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
  5. In April, most of those death sentences were changed to life in prison.
    1. But then an Egyptian court sentenced another 683 members of Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi supporters to death.
    2. By April, the Egyptian government had imprisoned over 28000 people, most of them Muslim Brotherhood.
    3. Morsi himself has been tried and convicted of several charges including: espionage, ordering the deaths of civilian protestors, inciting violence, and breaking out of prison during the 2011 protests against Mubarak.
    4. He was sentenced to death, life imprisonment, and 20 years in prison for the various charges.
  6. As of today, the Egyptian government continues its crackdown on members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. All of the Muslim Brotherhood assets in Egypt have been frozen.
    1. Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters are now in London.
    2. Recently, Egypt and Saudi Arabia requested the UK shut down their offices and declare them a terrorist organization.

Show Notes

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