The violence continues with casualties mounting on both side with no resolution in sight. Democracy Now! recounts the daily horrors with host Amy Goodman and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, independent journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent based in Cairo.
Transcript can be read here
Mass violence continues in Egypt amidst the bloodiest period in the country’s modern history. Around 900 people have been killed since state forces attacked Muslim Brotherhood protest encampments five days ago. At least 173 people were killed in a “Day of Rage” protest called by the Brotherhood on Friday, followed by at least 79 deaths on Saturday. Around 90 police officers and soldiers have died in the violence, but Islamist supporters of the Brotherhood and ousted President Mohamed Morsi account for the bulk of the victims. On Sunday, at least 36 prisoners were killed in Cairo after guards said they tried to escape while being transferred. But the Muslim Brotherhood accused state forces of a “cold-blooded killing” and demanded an international probe. And earlier today at least 24 police officers were reportedly killed in the northern Sinai after coming under attack by militants.
Amidst rumors that the US had quietly suspended military aid, the White House said this morning that those reports are false.
“The report that we have suspended assistance to Egypt is incorrect,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.
“As the president has said, we are reviewing all of our assistance to Egypt. No policy decisions have been made at this point regarding the remaining assistance,” she added.
Here is a brief summery of the latest news from the live feed at The Guardian:
• The supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, has been arrested in Nasr City in north-east Cairo after the security forces discovered his hiding place, Egyptian media reported. The private ONTV network showed footage of a man it said was Badie after his arrest. In the footage, a sombre looking Badie in an off-white Arab robe, or galabiyah, sits motionless on a sofa as a man in civilian clothes and carrying an assault rifle stands nearby. Badie and his deputy Khairat el-Shater, who was already in custody, are due to go on trial on 25 August for their alleged role in the killing of eight protesters outside the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters in June.
• The former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, could be freed within 48 hours after judicial authorities ruled that he has already spent too long in custody after one of the charges against him was dropped. News of the imminent release of Mubarak, who was overthrown in the 2011 revolution, looks likely to inflame a highly volatile mood in Egypt.
• Interim president Adly Mansour has declared three days of mourning for the 25 policemen killed by an armed group in the Sinai desert yesterday. Egyptian state TV reports from the scene near the border with Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip town of Rafah said the terrorists had forced the police conscripts off two minibuses and murdered them in cold blood. Three others were injured. Cairo sources describe the killers as “Takfiris” – a term often used for al-Qaida and like-minded groups.
• The Muslim Brotherhood said Badie was facing “political trumped up charges”. It appointed Mahmoud Ezzat, described in the media as the Brotherhood’s “iron man”, as Badie’s temporary replacement.
• An Egyptian court will review a petition for the release of deposed President Hosni Mubarak filed by his lawyer tomorrow raising the prospect of him being released within 24 hours, according to Reuters citing judicial sources. The sources said if the petition is upheld Mubarak will be released as there remain no further legal grounds for his detention, though he is being retried on charges of ordering the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising. An online poster has been circulating on Facebook today supporting him for president in 2014.
• A state-owned newspaper has accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being being the attack in the Sinai that left 25 policemen dead yesterday. Al-Akhbar ran the headline “Brotherhood Massacre”. The Guardian’s Middle East editor said the headline and the arrest of Badie are part of a propaganda campaign intended to split the Brotherhood’s supporters and to feed into popular sentiment against the Islamist group.
• Security officials say an Egyptian journalist working for a state-run daily has been shot dead by soldiers at a military checkpoint. They say Tamer Abdel-Raouf from al-Ahram newspaper and a colleague were on the road during a military-imposed nighttime curfew and a soldier opened fire after the pair drove off from the checkpoint without permission.
• Amnesty International said today that there has been “an unprecedented rise in sectarian violence across Egypt targeting Coptic Christians” since the violent dispersals of pro-Morsi sit-ins in Greater Cairo on 14 August and has demanded that the Egyptian authorities take immediate steps to ensure their safety. It says several Coptic Christians have been killed, their churches, homes and businesses targeted and graves desecrated, “seemingly in retaliation for their support of the ousting of Mohamed Morsi”,
• A private lawsuit has been issued against the Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradai, who was until recently part of the interim government installed after the ousting of Mohamed Morsi. It charges him with “breaching national trust” (Arabic link). The charge is that by resigning as vice-president he gave the impression that the Egyptian authorities were using excessive force. He has been referred to trial on 17 September.
Democracy Now! hosr Amy Goodman discusses the state of the revolution and the growing divide in Egypt with acclaimed Egyptian writer Ahdaf Soueif, Chris Toensing, executive director of the Middle East Research and Information Project and Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.
Transcript can be read here
“One of most depressing things that we’ve seen has been how a strand of what was the revolution, and what was either progressive or liberal, has so completely backed, endorsed, egged on the military and the police and have completely, unrelentingly demonized the Brotherhood and Islamist currents,” Soueif says from Cairo. “And I think that is part of why we’ve had an escalation of violence. It’s as if everyone is playing out a role that is expected of them.”