ArticleDownload Worksheet August 26th, 2013
Violence Escalates Between Security Forces and Protesters in Egypt
Clashes between Egyptian law enforcement and supporters of the ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi continue to escalate, prompting fears that Egypt could follow nearby Syria into civil war.
The current violence in Egypt began when military leaders ousted democratically elected President Morsi in a coup in early July, barely a year after he took office.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s main support base, protested the coup and built camps around Cairo to sustain their opposition. But the military cracked down on the demonstrations, killing at least 72 protesters in one day in late July.
Since then, the military and police have vowed to crush the protests. Their harsh tactics have resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,000 people and more than 100 police officers.
“The objective wasn’t to use massive force,” Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt’s ambassador to the United States, told the NewsHour about the crackdown. “The objective wasn’t to get anyone killed. The objective was to apply the rule of law.”
However, the violence seems has bolstered the case of the Muslim Brotherhood, who have traditionally held the role of the oppressed opposition group within Egypt.
“We have no guns. We have no — we have water, only water. We have our bodies, only our bodies,” said one protester.
“They have stolen our votes, and we want our votes back,” said another. “And we are not going to leave the streets, whatever happens, before getting the democracy back.”
Recently, Mohammed al-Baradei, a Nobel laureate and prominent secular political leader who helped organize the Egyptian revolution in 2011, stepped down from his post as Egypt’s interim vice president in protest over the violent tactics of the military.
Crackdown considered threat to a democratic Egyptian future
The military removed President Morsi from office July 3 after citizens held massive rallies to protest his job performance. Frustration stemmed from the bleak economy, high unemployment, a tourism industry that has not recovered from the 2011 uprising and major fuel shortages that have caused transportation pains.
“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.”
However, as the country failed to accept its first-ever democratically elected leader, some worry that the country is not yet ready for a democratic system of government.
“Incremental change produces more durable results; liberal democracies must be constructed from the ground up,” wrote Georgetown University professor Charles A. Kupchan in a recent New York Times op-ed. “Constitutional constraints, judicial reform, political parties, economic privatization — these building blocks of democratic societies need time to take root.”
Egypt waits on elections
As the military, police and protesters battle on the streets of Cairo, the Egyptian people wait to vote in new 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.
Despite these promises, no dates have been announced for elections.
– Compiled by Allison McCartney and Katie Gould for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
- Global economics: is Ebola fear driving up the cost of chocolate?
In addition to a devastating human cost, Ebola is affecting the chocolate industry. Continue readingAfricaEbolaEconomicsHealth
- What students need to know about midterms
Are your students confused about what midterm elections mean for the country? Use our answers…CivicsElection 2014ElectionsGovernmentPolitics
- Making PE accessible for students with disabilities
A school district has added new sports activities in an effort to ease participation for students of all abilities. Continue readingdisabilitygymHealthSocial Issues
- Halloween in the classroom: zombies, ghosts and more
This Halloween, PBS NewsHour Extra has got you covered with four spooktacular resources guaranteed to…animalsHalloweenSTEM
- New York’s “Little Liberia” faces Ebola stigma
African immigrants in the U.S. are facing stigma amid the intensifying Ebola outbreak across the Atlantic Ocean in their home country. Continue readingAfricacdcEbolaHealthLiberiaSocial IssuesSTEMWHO