Many see Monday’s violence as a turning point in the standoff
A pall of gloom infused with latent anger has engulfed Rabba Al-Adaweya Square — where supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsy are encamped for over a week — following Monday morning’s bloodbath in which at least 42 people were killed.
At the square, activists distributed handouts describing the events of the morning, blaming the military and the police for the carnage. Others huddled in groups, some breaking into spontaneous prayers to come to terms with the tragedy. An Imam claiming to be a survivor of the firing narrates his brush with death. He reveals wounds to his from birdshot. Others show bullet casings that have the Egyptian Arab Army’s markings on it. At a nearby podium, organisers call for a march to Al Azhar mosque to spread word about their horrific experience.
“I think this incident is a real turning point for our campaign to reinstate our President. It can divide the army and change the mind of some young people in the anti-Morsy camp,” says Tamer Abdurrahman, a petroleum company engineer. He acknowledged the dangers of a split military force because it would engender a civil war.
Mosad Asmar, a businessman, is of the view that the incident could provoke a violent response in the Upper Egypt area, where Mr. Morsy and the Brotherhood enjoy strong support. “I think the military’s grip in that area is not that strong. I wouldn’t be surprised if the situation gets out of hand there”.
He added that the security situation is already vulnerable in the Sinai area, close to the border with Gaza. “The military can overcome the impasse only if it puts to referendum the continuation of Mr. Morsy’s presidency or the transition roadmap of the military.”
In the aftermath of the violence, tensions are running high in the Egyptian capital. The army had briefly stopped the flow of vehicles along the arterial road leading to the Rabba Al-Adaweya Square in the morning. In the early hours on Monday, armoured personnel carriers had blocked the Sixth of July bridge over the Nile, which leads in the direction of Tahrir Square where anti-Morsy supporters are encamped.
But by mid-morning traffic was being allowed over the bridge and the arterial roads were choked with vehicles.