Egypt. According to Countryaah, the widespread dissatisfaction with the Islamic government under President Muhammad Mursi culminated on July 3 when he was deposed by the military. In a series of massacres just over a month later, hundreds of people were killed, most of them Mursi faithful protesters.
The protests against Mursi escalated during the winter and spring. The protesters protested that more and more men with roots in the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood were taking powerful positions within the state apparatus. The protesters were also critical of the deteriorating economy – the instability frightened tourists and investors, with the result that wages were absent and Egyptians in common found it difficult to pay their children’s school fees and buy food for the day. Power outages and declining tap water were also more common problems, as was the lack of gasoline and diesel. More and more strikes were happening and riots erupted. In January alone, at least 50 people were killed in clashes between protesters and police. Mursi announced a state of emergency in large parts of the country.
In February, the opposition movement National Rescue Front announced that in protest against the new electoral law passed by Mursi, Boycott was thinking of the parliamentary elections he had announced. Several different courts also ruled that the electoral law violated the constitution, that the upper house had been appointed on illegal grounds and that Mursi had no right to order regime critics to be arrested. It became obvious that Mursi had failed to gain confidence in the justice system, the police or the media, parts of society where the military and its allies had deep recesses. The grassroots movement Tamarod (Rebell) announced in June that it had collected a total of 22 million signatures from people who demanded Mursi’s departure no later than one year of his July 3 entry. The commander-in-chief and also Defense Minister General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi announced on July 1 an ultimatum: if Mursi did not leave his post within two days, the military would intervene. Mursi remained. See DIGOPAUL for map and location of Egypt.
The military seized Mursi and a large number of other rulers in the Muslim Brotherhood. Mursi was charged with espionage and conspiracy against the state, crimes that are subject to the death penalty. New President was appointed President of the Constitutional Court Adli Mansour and new acting Prime Minister became former Finance Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, but real power secured al-Sisi. The new regime promised a new constitution and parliamentary elections within six months.
The protests became violent against what in practice was a military coup. Fifty people were killed on July 8 when the military fired on protesters outside the military facility in Cairo where they believed Mursi was being held. Also in other places, Mursitrogne protesters camped, and on August 14, the country’s new leadership ordered armored vehicles, bulldozers, sharp ammunition and tear gas against two camps in Cairo that were leveled. The number of dead was uncertain – according to official figures, there were 638, among them a number of soldiers and police, but according to the Muslim Brotherhood, they were 2,000.
The unrest continued and on August 16, 170 people were killed at the Ramsestorget in Cairo, most of them protesters. The international reactions were mixed. The EU and Turkey criticized the violence with varying degrees of sharpness, the US withdrew military aid while Saudi Arabia expressed its support for what it believed was a defense against terrorism.
The situation was still explosive. For a few days in October, in connection with the 40th anniversary of the October war against Israel, at least 50 people were killed in riot gear. The armed forces held the country in an iron grip, but the Muslim Brotherhood, the very origin of the Islamist world movement since the 1920s, was deeply entrenched among Egypt’s believing Muslims. Liberal forces were worried that the Muslim Brotherhood would turn away from parliamentary politics. Many revenge attacks were reported against Christian Copts, which some Islamists believed were behind the coup. Particularly violent was the situation on the almost lawless Sinai Peninsula, where jihadists in a series of attacks in the fall killed at least 100 government soldiers.
The trial of Mursi and 14 others of the Muslim Brotherhood’s front figures, including leader Muhammad Badie, began on November 4. Mursi claimed in court that he was still Ehrling, the president of Marie Egypt, after which the trial was updated in January. The fraternity was stamped on December 25, which further escalated the tension between the two camps.
Former President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted from power in 2011 and then sentenced to life for involvement in the assassinations of protesters, was released from prison on August 22. The reason was that he appealed against the sentence and that the new trial had not been completed before the maximum time he could be kept in jail pending trial expired. Mubarak was taken from the prison to a hospital and would then be placed under house arrest.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians took refuge in Egypt. After the change of power, their situation became more difficult. Many government officials regarded them as Islamists and thus enemies of the new regime. The human rights organization Amnesty International reported that many refugees, including children, were held in police stations under very difficult circumstances.
A November report stated that Egypt was the most hostile country in the Arab world. The many cases of sexual harassment and the widespread use of female genital mutilation were the most important explanations. Since a 13-year-old girl perished in connection with genital mutilation, the custom was debated. Although genital mutilation was banned in Egypt since 2008, over 90% of the country’s women were estimated to be mutilated.