Egypt's Critical Test
The Egyptian military announced that it intends to clear protest camps established by supporters of overthrown President Mohammed Morsi. But growing crowds could put a crimp in this plan. The situation could escalate. A photo essay by Jennifer Fraczek...
Situation in Cairo heats up: Thousands of supporters of overthrown President Mohammed Morsi have gathered in protest camps in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The protestors are refusing to yield, despite the military's announcement that it intends to clear out the camps.
Women and children as support: Demonstrators have increasingly been bringing their wives and children to the protest camps. They seek to make it as difficult as possible to evict them. And they've seen some initial success: Evictions planned for Monday have been postponed.
Fortified encampments: Protest camps, like this one in front of the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, are becoming more fortified. Sandbags and steel barricades are there to protect the protesters from army attacks.
Military holding back: According to sources within security forces, the evictions planned for Monday will probably take place later, when there are fewer demonstrators at the two downtown locations: in front of the Rabaa al-Adawija mosque, and at Nahda Square near the university.
In favor of reinstatement: The demonstrator's main demand is reinstatement of the president, of the parliament, and of the constitution. Since they still consider Morsi to be the legitimate head of state, the movement is refusing to enter into discussions with the transitional government.
"Where did my vote go?": Pictures of Morsi and colorful protest banners hang above the entrances to the camps. They broadcast slogans and questions like "Where did my vote go?" Morsi was the first popularly elected Egyptian president. But even directly after the election, about a year ago, there were already protests.
Protest camp infrastructure: Tens of thousands of people live in makeshift tents in the camps. Among other things, there's a bakery, and a press center in a mosque. Many high-ranking Islamist officials are set up there.
Failed mediation: Adly Mansour has been the transitional president since Morsi's overthrow. Attempts to mediate by the United States and European Union, among others, recently failed again. Mansour lays blame for the lack of dialogue on the Muslim Brotherhood alone.
Calm before the storm? The situation in Egypt is still developing. Neither side appears to be ready to deviate from their course, indicating a confrontation to come. The current calm could be deceptive, as it remains to be seen what will become of threats to evict the protest camps by force.