CAIRO, July 16, 2013 — The massacre by Egypt’s Republican Guard last week is influencing the formation of the new interim government in Egypt.
During a sit-in by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi outside the Republican Guard headquarters, violence erupted resulting in the death of 51 and injury of more than 400.
Eye witnesses provide conflicting accounts of the events. A military spokesperson said an “armed terrorist group” linked to the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to storm the Guard headquarters, firing live ammunition and throwing Molotov cocktails. To support this theory, Egyptian television showed video of masked men among the demonstrators outside the building, who they identified as “terrorists.”
However, the Muslim Brotherhood spokesman denies this version of events. According to the Muslim Brotherhood, the protestors were peaceful and the Guard opened fire on the crowd. Eye witnesses including one of the injured Abdel Aziz Abdel Shakour said “we were praying the dawn prayers suddenly we heard the shouting … an army officer assured us that no one was shooting. Then we were under fire from the direction of the Republican Guards Club.”
As a result of the incident, The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party wrote on Facebook urging the Egyptian people to “rise up against those who want to steal their revolution with tanks and armoured vehicles, even over the dead bodies of the people.” Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badei said the Egyptian Army wants to drive Egypt to the same fate as Syria.
The shooting has further complicated the already delicate process of forming an interim government. The El Nour Party, which represents conservative Salafi Muslims, announced its withdrawal from talks with interim government. The Muslim Brotherhood also rejected any reconciliation with the administration and reiterated its calls for uprising against the military.
Hamdeen Sabahi, former presidential candidate and a left wing leader, called for the immediate formation of an interim government. He said, “we cannot leave the country without a government; He (interim President Adly Mansour) should appoint the government today.”
Political analysts are concerned about the new political process. The divisive atmosphere is escalating tensions. Moreover, eliminating Islamic parties from government is likely to further exacerbate tensions.
Interim Presidential spokesman Ahmed Muslimani stated, “What happened will not stop steps to form a government or the future road map.” The administration of the interim government announced that the new government formation will be installed by Wednesday July 17th, 2013.