Protests Against the Egyptian Government Resume

Photo Credit: Reuters

This week senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders, Mohammed al-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian, urged their supporters to return to the streets and protest the interim Egyptian government. Erian called on “the Egyptian people to protest on Friday August 30 to bring down the bloody military coup.” Yesterday, police arrested al-Beltagy, who is Secretary-General of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party, on charges of inciting violence. Prosecutors had issued the arrest warrant on July 10.

Heeding the calls of the Brotherhood leaders, supporters returned to the streets in protest across the country. In response, the military increased security and closed roads inside Cairo leading to Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, Tahrir Square, Ramses Square, and the Defense Ministry building. Egypt’s Interior Ministry issued a statement warning people that security forces “will use live ammunition according to the regulations of legitimate self-defense” in order “to stand up to the attempts to undermine the stability of public security.”

Complicating the matter further, David D. Kirkpatrick of the New York Times suggests that military action by the United States against the Syrian regime may see protests increase in Egypt. Kirkpatrick explains that the protests will likely come from supporters of the interim government who recently declared that they “strongly opposes any military strike as it has consistently opposed foreign military intervention in Syria.” Kirkpatrick argues that the Egyptian government and its supporter’s resistance to U.S. intervention in Syria stem from their fear of Islamist-dominated Syrian rebels.

Meanwhile, Arab News reports that the interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi presented an economic plan to Gulf states, hoping the support will relieve some of the pressure on the Egyptian economy. Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Qattan is quoted as saying, “All these issues are being looked at by the specialized divisions,” within Saudi Arabia.