Egypt Violence: How They Got Here
For the citizens of Egypt, for the Muslim Brotherhood, for the country’s military, history seems to be repeating itself, with mass protests, violence and political upheaval gripping the country. With nearly 900 dead following four days of unrest and more casualties expected in the coming week, Egypt may be on course for “an incurable cycle of violence,” as Michael Wahid Hanna, a senior fellow at the New York-based Century Foundation, told USA Today.
How did Egypt find itself it a state of turmoil all over again? We’ll start where the last revolution ended:
Feb. 11, 2011 – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, under intense pressure from nationwide demonstrations against his 30-year rule, steps down, ceding control of government to the military. The protest against his authority began in January as part of a wave of unrest across the Middle East and North Africa that would become known as the Arab Spring.
Feb. 25, 2012 – The previous year has seen occasional flare ups of protests and criticism of the military’s political transition. Multistage, parliamentary elections beginning in November 2011 are held with the Muslim Brotherhood claiming nearly half of the available seats in the lower house.
June 16, 2012 – Following a first round of voting in presidential elections held the previous month, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi emerges the victor in a run-off against Ahmed Shafiq, who served as the prime minister under Mubarak. Two weeks later, Morsi takes the oath of office.
Egyptian riot police officers set fire to tents occupied by protesters in front of the presidential palace.
Nov. 22, 2012 – Attempts between Islamist and liberal-leaning parties to reach an agreement on the country’s constitution over the previous months have failed. Morsi claims sweeping authority that make his decisions immune to judicial review, citing economic concerns as the reason for his power grab. Since the Muslim Brotherhood has assumed the reigns of power, they have been accused of corruption and cronyism, ignoring Egypt’s soaring crime rate and plummeting economy. Mass protests greet Morsi’s proclamation.
Jan. 25, 2013 – The previous month, a new constitution passed a referendum with two-thirds of Egyptian voters supporting it, although turnout was low. On the two-year anniversary of the first protests against Mubarak, hundreds of thousands of protesters return to Tahrir Square with demands for Morsi to step down. Over the coming months, the government would respond with violence to mass demonstrations across the country.
June 30, 2013 – On Morsi’s first anniversary in office, millions of protestors continue to call from his exit from office. The next day, Egypt’s military gives the president 48 hours to reach an agreement with demonstrators or else he faces the prospect of removal from office.
July 3, 2013 – With no progress made toward reaching an agreement, Morsi is forcibly removed from the presidency and detained by the military, who also seize high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood officials. Claiming to be a rightfully elected leader deposed by a coup, Morsi insists that he be reinstated, as do thousands of his supporters who form pro-Muslim Brotherhood protests. Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, seen above after security forces went through this past weekend, is one of the largest earlier pro-Morsi camps, which then becomes a flashpoint for violence between political demonstrators and the military authority.
Aug. 14, 2013 – Security forces backed with armored vehicles and bulldozers begin to move in on demonstrators in sit-ins and protest camps, violently dispersing protesters by setting fire to their tents, as seen in the middle photo, and opening fire on them, setting the course for street skirmished that claimed an estimated 900 lives.
This weekend, authorities suggested that they could once again disband the Muslim Brotherhood, which would return the group to its decades-long pre-revolution status.
Top photo: An Egyptian man walks through what remains after police cleared a protester encampment at Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo. Credit: Corbis Images; Middle photo: Getty Images