The military has ordered the police to use maximum force against peaceful protesters in Egypt. The police are happy to oblige as the rampage after Juma prayers today demonstrated yet again. At least 19 protesters were shot and killed across Egypt and dozens injured. Their crime? They were protesting against the forthcoming referendum on a new constitution that has been drafted by a committee hand-picked by the military.
January 3, 2014, 19:33 EST
Given a free hand by the military-backed regime, the Egyptian police went on rampage across the country shooting and killing peaceful protesters after Juma (Friday) prayers today. At least 19 people were shot dead by the police in Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia, Fayoum and Minya.
The National Coalition in Support of Legitimacy that is led by the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon (Muslim Brotherhood) rejected the official figure of 11 deaths put out by the health ministry. The Coalition insisted at least 19 people were killed. Police sources said they had also arrested more than 120 Brotherhood members.
Nightfall brought no respites as clashes continued east of Cairo at Gisr el-Suez Street as well as Al-Tarbiya area near the pyramids.
The police liberally used tear gas, shot at and used clubs and rifle butts to beat up peaceful protesters. According to eyewitnesses, the police were particularly vicious in attacking students at Al-Azhar University, the scene of protests in recent weeks.
While reporting the protests, the regime’s media described peaceful protesters as “rioters” and “hooligans,” without mentioning that the police’s excessive use of force.
The Interior ministry that is stacked with Mubarak-era thugs have warned that anyone taking part in pro-Brotherhood protests would be declared supporter of a terrorist organization—the Brotherhood was branded a “terrorist organization” on December 25—and punished with five years in jail. Protest leaders have been warned that they might face the death penalty.
The Egyptian military and its henchmen in the puppet regime as well as other branches of the establishment whether in the judiciary, police or the interior ministry, are piling up pressure on the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon (Muslim Brotherhood). The aim is to eliminate the group as a political force in the country.
Since the group was branded a “terrorist” organization, security forces have come down hard on Brotherhood members as well as supporters. Most security force personnel are little more than thugs and they take special pleasure in terrorizing Brotherhood members and supporters.
The Brotherhood has called for a boycott of the January 14-15 referendum calling it illegal since the military carried out a coup against a democratically elected government that already had an approved constitution.
In addition to hauling the ousted President Mohamed Mursi to court on January 8, accusing him of ordering his supporters to kill protesters in December 2012 (nine out of the ten dead were Brotherhood members!), an appeals court in Cairo has set January 28 to try him on “treason” charges as well.
At least 130 other members of the Brotherhood will also be tried and include such senior leaders as Mohamed Badie (the murshid), Mohamed Saad El-Katatni, Essam El-Erian, Mohamed El-Beltagy, and Safwat Hegazy.
The charges would be laughable were they not so serious in their consequences. The Brotherhood leaders are accused of “collaborating” with the Palestinian Islamic movement, Hamas and the Lebanese resistance group Hizbullah.
The charges relate to the Ikhwan leaders’ escape from Wadi El-Natroun prison during the January 2011 uprising and attempting to “murder” police officers.
Last month, Cairo prosecutors announced that Mursi who is currently held at a prison in Alexandria, would be tried for “collaborating with foreign organizations to commit terrorist acts in Egypt and revealing defence secrets to a foreign country,” specifying links with Hamas and Hizbullah between 2005 and 2013.
The military is making its intentions clear: it wants to eliminate the Brotherhood completely so that there is no organized opposition to the military’s plunder of the country’s resources. Further, the gangsters in uniform want to create so much chaos that people would be forced to ask for the military to help protect them.
The arch Zionist, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (his mother is of Jewish origins from Morocco and his maternal uncle served in the Israeli Knesset for 15 years!) wants to rule Egypt unhindered. Only the Ikhwan stand in his way.
The military backed regime has also targeted Al Jazeera correspondents in Egypt. They are seen as being “sympathetic” to the Brotherhood when in fact they have not carried regime propaganda uncritically as almost all media outlets in Egypt are doing.