Violence in Egypt after Muslim Brotherhood marches

The timing on this story is notable because McClatchy has an interesting analysis about how Egypt had settled into its new military autocracy after a year of turbulent democracy.  The news from Egypt today doesn’t necessarily negate that, but it shows that the Muslim Brotherhood hasn’t gone away quietly, either. On the day normally reserved for commemorating the Egyptian military’s performance in the 1973 war against Israel, the banned political party took to the streets in protest, with violent consequences:

After weeks of relative calm, clashes erupted between supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsy and Egyptian Security forces in several areas in Cairo, Nile State TV reported.

The violence came during a pro-Morsy march in Cairo. Since Morsy’s ouster and detention in July, his supporters have taken to the streets most Fridays.

Also Friday, pro-Morsy and anti-Morsy protesters clashed in two other Egyptian cities, state media reported.

Compared with violence in August that claimed hundreds of lives, the latest clashes appeared minor. Still, Nile TV reported that at least nine people sustained injuries.

One protester was killed, Reuters reports, after the military fired live rounds at a protest in Cairo.  However, they weren’t the only ones attacking the Brotherhood:

An Egyptian army vehicle fired live rounds in the direction of Muslim Brotherhood supporters who had been pushed away from Cairo’s Tahrir Square by security forces, a Reuters witness said. Medical sources said one Brotherhood supporter had died from a gunshot wound in clashes in the center of the capital.

Onlookers threw rocks at the pro-Mursi protesters, who hurled them back. Riot police had earlier fired tear gas to push back the march.

Thousands of protesters headed toward the site of a Brotherhood protest camp in northeast Cairo which was crushed by security forces in August.

Members of the Brotherhood, which has been banned by court order, tried to reach the presidential palace but were turned back by police.

After three months of coup-installed autocracy, the Muslim Brotherhood seems as impotent as ever.  (They also chose a very odd day to stage this demonstration.) This brings us back to McClatchy, where Nancy Youssef writes that Egyptians seem to prefer this mode of government over the incompetent and provocative leadership of what had been the most respected opposition force in the nation during the Mubarak era. At the very least, the form of government is not their main concern at all:

The mass protests that once drew international attention are now a distant memory. Indeed, the military enjoys unprecedented popularity since the 2011 uprising that was supposed to end its grip on the country. Residents say they’ve lost interest in protests; they did not lead to change or solve their immediate problems. …

Last month, seven revolutionary parties, including Maher’s, agreed to put aside their differences and form a coalition, the Revolution Path Front. Instead of seeking the presidency or changing the way the nation operates, the front now seeks smaller victories like raising the minimum wage in the private sector and getting the state to restart train operations, which had been fully shut down since Aug. 14 when the police and military routed a Brotherhood sit-in, killing as many as 1,100 people. Earlier this week, the government opened some stops.

“We are pushing for the problems of the people,” said Hatem Tallima, a member of the Revolutionary Socialists movement and one of the 152 people who signed the document creating the new front. “This affects traffic and workers who pay more to ride in minibuses.”

The attention to such working-class concerns as pay raises and better working conditions marks a shift for the so-called revolutionaries, who mostly hail from Egypt’s elite classes. It’s a recognition that most Egyptians have thrown in with the military-imposed government and will remain loyal to it unless living conditions don’t improve.

The international community seems to have lost interest, too.  Few of the Western media outlets have video of today’s clashes, offering terse written reports in their place.  Even Al-Jazeera seems mainly diffident to the issue at this point:

Just as a thought experiment, try to remember the last time the White House demanded that Egypt proceed quickly to elections after the coup, or at least the last time the news media covered it.  As far as I could research, we have to go back to mid-August. Looks like everyone’s thrown in the towel here.

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