Egypt on Edge as Dueling Factions Take to Streets
Large-scale rallies across the country as ousted president detained by military
Tensions are high across Egypt today as dueling factions take to the streets, some supporting the recent ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and others vehemently opposed to the actions by the military which led to his recent removal.
As Al-Jazeera reports:
Egyptians joined street rallies on Friday, with many heeding a call earlier in the week from General Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the head of the army, who urged them to strengthen a military "mandate" to stop "violence and terrorism".
Many supporting Sisi's stance gathered at Tahrir Square by the afternoon, while more people joined thousands of Morsi supporters at Nasr City.
The pro-Morsi crowd has been rallying against his overthrow and holding demonstrations since July 3. The Muslim Brotherhood has called on its supporters to help fill the streets in solidarity.
As historian Juan Cole wrote on his popular blog Friday morning: "I have a bad feeling about this."
In a development that adds to the already anxious situation, outlets report that Morsi was detained by military authorities on Friday. He was accused of crimes from the time when his predecessor Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 including accusations of colluding with the Hamas government in the neighboring Gaza Strip.
Members of Morsi's political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, denounced his detention.
"At the end of the day we know all of these charges are nothing more than the fantasy of a few army generals and a military dictatorship," Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad told Reuters. "We are continuing our protests on the streets."
The threat of violence, however, seemed palpable. As Reuters reports:
The army has threatened to "turn its guns" on those who use violence. The Brotherhood warned of civil war.
"We will not initiate any move, but will definitely react harshly against any calls for violence or black terrorism from Brotherhood leaders or their supporters," an army official told Reuters.