ArticleDownload Worksheet August 7th, 2013
Egyptian Military Cracks Down on Morsi Supporters
Less than a month after a military coup ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, President Mohammed Morsi, dozens of pro-Morsi supporters were killed in clashes with police and military forces this past weekend.
The Egyptian military has focused their efforts on two public sit-ins staged by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s main support base. After a growing violent resistance movement in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killed at least 20 members of Egypt’s security forces, the military has been cracking down hard on Islamist opponents across the country in an effort to combat “terrorism”.
In an attack this past weekend on a sit-in in Nasr City, Cairo, security forces killed at least 72 demonstrators, with some estimates climbing to more than 100 casualties.
Overall casualty counts are wide-ranging, but most estimates predict that more than 200 citizens and security personnel have been killed in the turmoil that has engulfed the country since the coup on July 3, when the military arrested President Morsi after massive protests.
The Middle Eastern nation of Egypt is strategically important to the United States due to its location: the land bridge between Africa and Asia, and neighbor to Israel. Egypt is home to the Suez Canal, which is the only way to transport goods by water between Europe and Asia without having to navigate all the way around Africa.
Different groups united against Morsi
Violence began escalating this week in clashes between Morsi supporters and the military. At least 50 people were killed outside the Army building where the deposed leader is being held. The military claims the Morsi supporters attempted to storm the building.
However, a spokesperson from Morsi’s political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, told reporters that military forces opened fire on the protesters at dawn.
The Egyptian military unseated President Morsi and leaders from his party in a coup July 3, barely a year after he took office in Egypt’s first-ever democratic presidential election in 2012.
The military had wide support from the people and from both liberal and conservative political and religious leaders.
“I think this is a unique kind of coup, because almost all of the other social and political forces in Egypt other than the Muslim Brotherhood gave their assent to it,” Hussein Ibish, a Middle East commentator told the NewsHour.
“And that’s very unusual, so it is sort of a coup by acclamation. And there is a consensual quality to it that is extremely unusual in a coup d’etat.”
“No, the army didn’t carry out a coup,” said Egyptian protester Rida Abdul Malak. “This is the people’s will. The Muslim Brotherhood has failed. They failed to govern.”
President Morsi took to Twitter to reject the coup publicly. “Measures announced by Armed Forces leadership represent a full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation,” read the official Twitter account of the Egyptian presidency. “Pres. Morsi urges civilians and military members to uphold the law & the Constitution not to accept that coup which turns #Egypt backwards.”
Egyptians concerned about Morsi’s performance
The most recent round of protests stems from frustration with the bleak economy, high unemployment, a tourism industry that has not recovered from the 2011 uprising and now major fuel shortages causing transportation pains.
“He made several promises that he didn’t fulfill. He only fulfilled the Brotherhood’s promises,” said one man in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, the site of the last revolution in 2011. “He’s been here for a year now and nothing has happened. He has not accomplished anything. The whole country came out.”
Morsi’s political opponents have complained that he and the Muslim Brotherhood refuse to compromise, and are more concerned with their own goals than the interests of the country.
Egypt waits for new elections
Until Egypt can put together democratic elections, Judge Adly Mansour has been sworn in as the country’s temporary leader. Mansour is the former chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, who says he will uphold the spirit of the 2011 revolution while quickly organizing new presidential and parliamentary elections.
“I vow to safeguard the republican system and to respect the law and constitution and to look after the interests of the people and to preserve the independence of the homeland and its safety,” he said at his swearing-in ceremony.
The interim government has not yet announced a date for new elections.
Check out our interactive timeline of the turmoil in Egypt below.
— Compiled by Allison McCartney and Elizabeth Jones for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
To Vote or Not to Vote – Lesson Plan
Why is voting an important responsibility for citizens? Less than 60 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2012 general election. Yet, for other Americans, voting is a very meaningful, almost sacred duty. In this lesson, students will view three short films that explore the importance of voting. Continue readingcitizenshipCivicscivil rightscivil rights act of 1965constitutionElection 2016GovernmentGovernment & CivicsimmigrationraceSocial StudiesSupreme CourtU.S. governmentVotevotingvoting historyvoting rights
Decoding Media Bias – Lesson Plan
Students will view the We The Voters film “MediOcracy,” and then examine current news stories and how they’re covered by the three main cable news outlets. They will conclude by examining news stories for bias/point of view. Continue readingbiascable networksCivicsElection 2016GovernmentGovernment & Civicsmediamedia biasMedia Literacynewsnews medianews organizationsSocial Studies
Polling Pitfalls – Lesson Plan
What do people need to consider when evaluating public opinion polls? After viewing The Poll Dance, students will examine important aspects of valid polling and evaluate three polls. Continue readingCivicsdemocracyElection 2016GovernmentpollingPollspollsterpublic opinionSocial StudiesU.S. government
Will Americans living in poor rural areas vote?
Some poorer residents of rural America say their voices are not being heard as part of the national political dialogue and the presidential election. Continue readingEconomicseconomyElection 2016low-incomeNorth Carolinapovertyrural AmericaSocial StudiesvoterWilkesboro
Student Reporting Labs STEM Lesson Plan: How well are our wells?
In the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab video, “Water Scarcity for New Mexico Natives,” Las Cruces High School students describe climate changes and human activities which impact quality and availability of groundwater. In the lesson plan, students gather information from a low-cost physical model, choose a part of the groundwater and well problem, propose a solution and defend their proposal. Continue readingEPAgroundwaterScienceSRLSTEMstudent reporting labsUnited State Geological SurveyUSGSwaterwells