Morsi supporters prepare for forcible dispersal of sit-ins

"But we hold policemen responsible in the case that the protestors are dispersed by force," said hospital coordinator Ibrahim, expecting the dispersal to usher in what he described as an "unprecedented massacre.”

Morsi supporters prepare for forcible dispersal of sit-ins

World Bulletin/News Desk

A state of anticipation and preparedness made itself quite visible among the supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, hours after the Interior Ministry had asked them to leave before they are dispersed.

Groups of volunteers made their presence strongly felt on the entrance to Rab'a al-Adaweya Square, northeast of Cairo, to protect the square against any possible attack by policemen.

A group, who had earlier placed piles of sand sacks on the entrance to the square, had boosted the sand sacks with tiles and bricks they attained from the sidewalks of the square and the surrounding streets.

Some held sticks, while others wore hats and makeshift body armor to protect against possible live ammunition from policemen.

A military helicopter flew slowly over the protest site, but once the helicopter roared in close proximity the protestors assembled and chanted slogans inimical to Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and in support of Morsi.

Meanwhile, members of the dissolved Shura Council (upper house of parliament) denounced calls for using force to disperse the sit-in, saying government officials would be held to account for that.

Not far away from where the former legislators gathered, doctors in the field hospital inside the protest site were putting the necessary tools and materials together in preparation for a possible attack.

Hisham Ibrahim, the hospital's general coordinator, said his colleagues were prepared to receive the victims who were expected to fall in the case of the protest being forcibly dispersed.

"But we hold policemen responsible in the case that the protestors are dispersed by force," said hospital coordinator Ibrahim, expecting the dispersal to usher in what he described as an "unprecedented massacre.”

"The protestors are ready to sacrifice their lives to defend legitimacy anyway."

In the other second Morsi support site, Nahda Square, the mood was not much different.

Supporters had already taken measures to prevent any possible attack on the square.

With their backs to the nearby Cairo University and their faces to the University Street and the University Bridge, the protestors seemed to have made whatever it takes to protect their assembly.

When a military helicopter roared overheard, a square speaker called on the protestors who were taking refuge in their tents from the scorching heat of the sun to get out to show the military pilot their real numbers.

According to an Anadolu Agency correspondent, protest organizers had distributed masks among the protesters, lest the place should be subject to tear gas attacks from police.

Eyewitnesses said military reinforcements, including armored vehicles and tanks deployed near to the square, moved away some time ago.

Parties, public figures warn against forcible Rab'a dispersal

A host of political parties and public figures have vocalized fears that a possible use of force to disperse thousands of ousted President Mohamed Morsi's supporters staging mass sit-ins in Cairo and Giza would lead to a bloodbath.

The Salafist Nour party, which backed a military-imposed roadmap that removed Morsi from power, had called on the security agencies to "respect the sanctity of blood," warning of a potential pool of blood.

The government says the pro-Morsi sit-ins pose a threat to the country's national security and terrorize citizens, mandating the Interior Ministry to take "all necessary measures" to bring them to an end.

Al-Watan, another Salafist party, said the forcible dispersal of the sit-ins would be "a violation of law, constitution and international norms".

Al-Wasat party voiced similar fears.

It urged the world's parliamentarians to visit to the two sit-in sites to stand on the facts on the ground and ensure that the pro-Morsi protests are peaceful and don't pose any threat to Egypt's national security.

Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya insisted that the real threat to national security was "shedding the blood of peaceful protesters".

"The responsibility of the bloodshed that would happen would fall on the Interior Ministry, the so-called interim president, his government and the leader of the bloody military coup," the Islamist group said in a statement, referring to military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

Several prominent public figures also rang the alarm bells against the use of force.

"The government has to deal very cautiously with protests," Seif al-Din Abdel-Fattah, a political science professor at Cairo University, told Anadolu Agency.

Abdel-Fattah, a one-time advisor for Morsi, insisted that the current crisis was political in nature.

"This is why it is important to find political solutions without shedding blood, given the large number of victims who had fallen over the past few days."

He lashed out at what he described as the "reemergence of the police state" in Egypt through the use of security solutions for political problems.

He said more people will take to the streets as more victims fall, expecting the interim government to succumb to what he called international pressure, particularly when it comes to the use of force with demonstrators.

Prominent Salafist preacher Sheikh Mohamed Hassan also issued a similarly stern warning against the use of force in dispersing Morsi's backers.

"The shedding of blood is what threatens Egypt's national security," he said in a video aired on Thursday.

He called on Egypt's political rivals to offer concessions so that Egypt can get out of the current crisis.

Political sociology professor Saeed Sadek agrees, saying the use of force in dispersing demonstrators entails "enormous perils".

"This is particularly true in view of the expected international reaction to the use of force in this case," Sadek, who teaches in the American University in Cairo, told AA.

He said the government should gradually handle the protests before directly intervening to disperse them, noting there was no proof yet of the presence of arms among pro-Morsi demonstrators.

Political science professor Nadia Mustafa has called on Egypt's intellectuals, rights activists and civil society groups to form human shields to prevent what she called "a river of blood".

"Go out to defend humanity and principles and forget about all illusory pretexts," she wrote on her Facebook page.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Ağustos 2013, 09:19