Protests over Muslim Brotherhood leave four dead in Cairo

Low-key demonstrations mark last year’s camp dispersals

 Protesters supporting the Muslim Brotherhood  demonstrate in the Al-Madey neighbourhood of Cairo yesterday. Photograph: Azza Fadaly/EPA

Protesters supporting the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrate in the Al-Madey neighbourhood of Cairo yesterday. Photograph: Azza Fadaly/EPA

Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 01:00

Four people were reportedly killed in Cairo during protests to mark the first anniversary of the bloody dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood protest camps at Rabaa al-Adawiya in Nasr City and al-Nahda square in Giza.

Human Rights Watch released a report on Tuesday that called the killings at the two camps crimes against humanity.

Yesterday’s protests were mostly scattered incidents rather than a concerted campaign of protest. Masked supporters attempted to block traffic with flaming tyres near Tahrir Square, the cradle of the 2011 uprising, and other sites in and around Cairo. The square was sealed off by police, as were Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda Square. Traffic was light as many Egyptians stayed at home, fearing violence.

Policeman killed

A policeman was shot dead in the nearby industrial city of Helwan, and in the Nile Delta demonstrators destroyed electricity pylons and mobile towers. In the port of Alexandria, about 200 men chanted slogans against police and army.

The outlawed Brotherhood’s National Alliance to Support Legitimacy had called for followers to “head to the squares” – Rabaa al-Adawiya, al-Nahda, and Tahrir – to commemorate those who had died when security forces dispersed six-week-long sit-ins that had caused disruption and instability. According to the Egyptian Council for Human Rights, the dispersals were followed by rioting and attacks on police stations and churches in 22 of Egypt’s 27 governorates.

Morsi’s ousting

The camps were established in early July last year by the Brotherhood and its supporters to demonstrate against the ousting of Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, and to call for his reinstatement. On the morning of August 14th, the police raided the two encampments. An Egyptian government-appointed commission said in March the deaths were mostly the fault of demonstrators who had provoked security forces into opening fire. It found 632 people were killed, 624 of them civilians.

The Human Rights Watch report said at least 817 protesters were killed during the clearing of the Brotherhood sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya.

Following the killings, the Muslim Brotherhood mounted demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria and the Suez port cities, and radical fundamentalist allies attacked the police, army and public buildings, eliciting a harsh crackdown. Confrontations continued for months but seem to have declined in frequency and size since former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was elected president at the end of May.

The entire senior leadership of the Brotherhood has been detained and thousands of members and supporters imprisoned. Mass trials have been held and stiff sentences imposed.