Egypt deadlocked over pro-Morsi camps eviction

Egypt deadlocked over pro-Morsi camps eviction
Mon Aug 12, 2013 22:55:09

Egypt's army-installed interim government is divided over whether to use force to disperse the protest camps of loyalists of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, delaying its response, analysts say.

For weeks, the government has threatened Morsi's supporters with imminent action to clear their camps in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares, which have paralyzed parts of the capital and have stalled transition plans.

Despite several false alarms, action by the security forces has so far failed to materialize and separate statements from the army, the cabinet and the presidency suggest the interim government is not speaking with one voice, analysts say.

"Within the government, there are two contradictory directions," said Rabab al-Mahdi, professor of political science at the American University of Cairo.

One camp represented by the interior ministry and the military wants to go in and disperse the protesters, she said.

"The other camp, represented by Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei and Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa Eldin speak to a different constituency and have a more democratic approach," Mahdi told AFP.

Morsi's turbulent single year in power polarized Egyptians and his ouster by the military on July 3 only deepened divisions.

His supporters have vowed to keep fighting for the Islamist leader's reinstatement at any cost, agitating a large part of the public.

The interim leadership is now under immense pressure at home to crack down on the pro-Morsi protests, and immense pressure from the international community to avoid bloodshed.

The government's cautious approach in dealing with the pro-Morsi protesters is unusual in a country where for decades authorities have used a heavy hand in dealing with dissent, and points to the seriousness of the crisis.

Human rights advocates said the interior ministry held an unprecedented meeting with non-governmental organizations to discuss the implications of breaking up the sit-ins.


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