Egypt: Islamists mark anniversary of Morsi ouster

Egypt: Islamists mark anniversary of Morsi ouster

Credit: Getty Images

BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 30: Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi arrives at the Chancellery to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on January 30, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Mursi has come to Berlin despite the ongoing violent protests in recent days in cities across Egypt that have left at least 50 people dead. Mursi is in Berlin to seek both political and financial support from Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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by ASSOCIATED PRESS

khou.com

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 12:09 PM

CAIRO (AP) - A series of demonstrations and small bombings marked the anniversary on Thursday of the ouster of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, and authorities responded by arresting nearly 200 people as part of their crackdown against Islamists.
   
One of the bombs went off accidentally inside an apartment outside Cairo, killing two suspected militants who were handling the explosives, the Interior Ministry said. It said the men were in the apartment with two friends who fled after the blast in the Islamist stronghold of Kirdasah.
   
Morsi's supporters had called for mass protests a year after he was toppled by the military  and detained, but the number of demonstrators was mostly in the hundreds, sometimes just dozens - evidence of the reluctance by Islamists to take on the security forces after a months-long crackdown that has killed hundreds and jailed at least 22,000.
   
Despite relatively small numbers, the protesters blocked some roads and chanted slogans against the military and President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the former military chief who ousted Morsi following mass protests demanding he step down. El-Sissi was later elected president.
   
In a report marking the anniversary, Amnesty International said the year since Morsi's ouster has seen a "sharp deterioration" in human rights in Egypt, with a surge in arbitrary arrests, detentions and what it called "harrowing incidents of torture and deaths in police custody."
   
"On every level Egypt is failing in terms of human rights," the London-based group said. It added that it was up to el-Sissi as the newly elected president to "turn the tide by launching independent, impartial investigations into all allegations of human rights violations and send a strong message that flouting human rights will not be tolerated and will no longer go unpunished."
   
Thursday's demonstrations took place in Cairo, Alexandria, the southern city of Assiut, the oasis province of Fayoum southwest of the capital and several other provinces.
   
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said 157 demonstrators and 39 suspected Islamists on the Interior Ministry's most-wanted list had been arrested.
   
After Morsi's ouster, Islamic militants stepped up attacks against security forces in the rugged Sinai Peninsula, a campaign that later spread to the mainland. Militants bombed a central police compound in Cairo in January and tried to assassinate Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim, who is in charge of the police, last year.
   
The government has blamed the string of attacks on the Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hails, which is now officially branded a terrorist organization.
   
The Brotherhood- which has seen thousands of its members and virtually its entire top leadership arrested- has condemned the violence but vowed to continue holding demonstrations demanding the reinstatement of Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president.
   
In anticipation for the mass protests, security was tight around the capital, with main thoroughfares, including the epicenter of protests Tahrir Square, were closed to traffic.
   
Near Tahrir square, Cairo resident Qassem Shaaban said he expected the day to pass without any serious disturbance.
   
"Seriously, I feel like the Brotherhood has become extinct. They are no more," he said. "Today Egypt is celebrating."
   
There was little sign of festivities, particularly during the daytime when most Egyptians were fasting, observing the holy month of Ramadan. Egypt has been plunged into turmoil since the 2011 uprising that toppled long-ruling autocrat Hosni Mubarak, and many Egyptians see the crackdown, and the return of a military man to the nation's top post, as essential for restoring stability and repairing the shattered economy.

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