CAIRO – As the sun set on the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, families across Cairo gathered for the fast-breaking iftar meal in a country that in the last two weeks has seen protests by millions, a coup against an elected president and the deaths of dozens of people in clashes with the military.
Ramadan is traditionally a time of personal reflection and feeling a sense of brotherhood with fellow Muslims, but in the aftermath of the military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, the divisions among Egyptians extend even down to this traditional meal.
On one side of the city, Tahrir Square remains the symbolic center of the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak and later opposed Morsi. Across town in an eastern district, Morsi’s supporters have coalesced around a major intersection in front of the mosque of Rabaah al-Adawiya.
Breaking their fast outdoors, the people in the two camps expressed bafflement and disdain for the other side.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood vows peaceful defiance
“I don’t know if the people at Rabaah al-Adawiya are out of their minds or if they are brainwashed,” said Shenouda William, a 35-year-old lawyer, who sat with about 100 people in the echoing emptiness of Tahrir Square to break their fast. Others described the Morsi supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood as ignorant peasants or possibly Palestinian and Syrian refugees looking for food and a place to sleep.
Protesters gather in downtown Cairo
LIVE VIDEO — Crowds gather in downtown Cairo after Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was removed from office by the military last week.
NEW YORK TIMES
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK 01-28-13
PORT SAID, Egypt — Large protests in the Suez Canal city of Port Said and fresh clashes in Cairo on Monday marked a fifth day of widening unrest in Egypt, a day after President Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency and a curfew in three major cities as escalating violence in the streets threatened his government and Egypt’s democracy.
In Port Said, where the police lost control over the weekend and where marchers on Monday said they no longer recognized Mr. Morsi’s authority, protesters chased away armored personnel carriers with rocks and shoes during a funeral procession for victims of the recent violence. Protesters also called for the entire city to ignore the 9 p.m. curfew. FULL ARTICLE
WE SHOULD PUT ALL AID TO EGYPT ON HOLD
They fought for democracy.
They voted for the Muslim Brotherhood
“The Egyptian president has returned to work in Cairo, although scores of protesters angered by his drive to push through a new constitution are still blocking one gate of the presidential palace.
Mohamed Morsi left the palace in the northern Cairo district of Heliopolis on Tuesday evening as tens of thousands of demonstrators surged around it, clashing briefly with police.
A presidential source said Morsi was back at work in the palace on Wednesday, even though up to 200 demonstrators had camped out near one entrance overnight.
Traffic was flowing normally in the area and riot police had been withdrawn, a witness said.
The rest of the Egyptian capital was calm, despite the political furore over Morsi’s November 22 decree handing himself wide powers and shielding his decisions from judicial oversight.
Egyptian police fired tear gas at opposition protesters demonstrating on Tuesday evening against Morsi’s drive to hold a snap referendum on the draft constitution.
Live television footage showed that some protesters broke through police lines and got too close to the presidential palace late on Tuesday night.
Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh, reporting from Cairo said: “We saw thousand of people surrounding the palace on all four corners, outnumbering the police and getting close to the presidential walls.”