Egypt: ‘Third Square’ protesters reject army, Morsi

At least 100 were killed and hundreds injured July 27 as Egyptian security forces attacked Muslim Brotherhood supporters holding a public sit-in at a square outisde Rabaa al-Adawia mosque in northwest Cairo, bringing the toll in repression since the fall of President Mohammed Morsi to over 200 dead. Five were also killed in Alexandria the previous day, and rival demonstrations were reported from cities and towns throughout the country. Army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has issued a call for the Brotherhood’s opponents to take to the streets in mass demonstration of support for the military. But with Rabaa al-Adawia square occupied by Morsi supporters and Tahrir Square now held by Morsi opponents responding to al-Sisi’s call, a relatively small group of protesters established a vigil in Giza’s Sphinx Square, calling themselves the “Third Square” movement. Their banners and flyers call for Egyptians to reject both Morsi’s “religious fascism” and  “the army’s continued political role.”

Fatma Ramadan, a member of the executive committee of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU), has issued a statement dissenting from the EFITU’s decision to support al-Sisi’s call for pro-military demonstrations. She writes: 

Did not the military forcibly end your strikes in Suez, Cairo, Fayyoum, and all over Egypt ? Did not the military arrest many of you and subject you to military trials just for practising your right to organize, strike, and protest peacefully? Have they not adamantly worked to criminalize this right through legislation banning all Egyptians from organizing peaceful protests, strikes, and sit-ins?

Then came Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who followed in Mubarak’s footsteps with dismissals, arrests, and smashing strikes by force. It was Mursi who sent police dogs against workers at Titan Cement in Alexandria, acting through the Minister of the Interior and his men. The same police and army officers who are right now being carried shoulder-high are killers, the killers of honest, young Egyptians…

Today, we have been asked to go out and authorize Al-Sisi’s killing spree, and we find all three trade union federations in agreement: the government’ Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), the Egyptian Democratic Labour Congress (EDLC), and the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) (of which I am a member of the Executive Committee)… We are thus faced with jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. The Muslim Brotherhood committed crimes and it must be held accountable and prosecuted for them, just like police and army officers and men of the Mubarak regime must be held accountable and prosecuted for their crimes. Do not be fooled into replacing a religious dictatorship with a military dictatorship.

Morsi is still being held incomunicado, and has now been charged with espionage (ostensibly on behalf of the Palestinian Hamas movement) and murder. Prosecutors say he will likely go the same prison as ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak. (Reuters, ReutersLAT, AFPBBC News, July 27; WP, BBC News, Ahram, Al Jazeera, MENA Solidarity Network, July 26)

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