Former Egypt VP recalls Cairo's 2013 'Rabaa massacre'

Mohamed El Baradei resigned as Egypt’s vice-president after violent dispersal of anti-coup protest left hundreds dead

Former Egypt VP recalls Cairo's 2013 'Rabaa massacre'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Mohamed El Baradei, who briefly served as Egyptian vice-president following Egypt’s 2013 military coup, recently recalled how he had been threatened by Egypt’s post-coup authorities when he tried to achieve the peaceful dispersal of two Cairo sit-ins held by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.  

The twin sit-ins -- held in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares -- were violently dispersed in mid-2013 by Egyptian security forces some six weeks after Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was ousted by Egypt’s powerful military establishment.

Earlier this week, in a statement posted on his personal Facebook page, El Baradei recalled how -- in the run-up to the bloody sit-in dispersals -- he had been described by Egyptian state media as "a threat to the Egyptian people and state" for attempting to resolve the standoff peacefully.

Along with attacks in Egypt’s pro-army state media, El Baradei said he had received "warnings" from Egypt’s "sovereign authorities", who, he asserted, had threatened to "destroy" him if he continued his efforts to find a peaceful solution the crisis.

It was the second recent statement by El Baradei about the events of mid-2013.

-Breaking silence

In a Nov. 1 statement issued after almost three years of silence, El Baradei -- a former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate -- gave his account of what went on behind the scenes in the run-up to what later became known as the "Rabaa massacre".

At the time, El Baradei had posited himself as a moderate; as a potential mediator between Egypt’s post-coup authorities and demonstrators opposed to Morsi’s ouster.

"On Aug. 14 [2013], after force was used to disperse the sit-ins, there was a hysterical uproar on the part of [Egypt’s] political forces," El Baradei wrote.

"Even some segments of the country’s revolutionary youth welcomed the use of violence [against pro-Morsi demonstrators] and fiercely attacked me for resigning from my position [following the dispersals]," he added.

In the immediate wake of the sit-in dispersals, El Baradei resigned as vice-president -- a position he had held for only one month.

"I refused to take responsibility for a decision that I did not participate in and, in fact, opposed," he wrote.

El Baradei’s Nov. 1 statement sparked controversy due to his assertion that he had resigned due to the government’s use of deadly force against pro-Morsi demonstrators.

"It was not only for moral reasons [that I resigned]," he wrote, "but also because there was a semi-agreed-upon political solution [to the standoff] that could have prevented the country from being dragged into a vicious circle of violence and division."

Following his resignation, El Baradei was attacked by numerous pro-coup public figures, while the pro-army media accused him of supporting Morsi’s embattled Muslim Brotherhood group.

On Aug. 14, 2013, Egyptian security forces opened fire on the two sit-ins, killing at least 1,150 people, according to figures provided by Human Rights Watch.

Last Mod: 16 Kasım 2016, 15:20
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