- By David KennerDavid Kenner is the Middle East editor at Foreign Policy. He is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has been with FP since 2009 (a long time, he knows). He worked for FP previously in Cairo, where he covered the early days of the Arab Spring, and before that in Washington. He has attended Georgetown University and the American University of Beirut and has reported from Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.
CAIRO — Rallies in support of Mohamed Morsy during the day on Thursday were smaller than they had been previously, perhaps because supporters of the deposed president stayed away out of fear of violence. But while the numbers may have been down, reports of violence throughout the city suggested that this crisis is far from over.
Bullet holes were visible at sites across the pro-Morsy sit-in outside Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adaweya mosque — the product of violence at the protest site late last night. There is also anecdotal evidence that some of the former president’s Islamist supporters have grown increasingly radicalized by the military takeover: One protester directed a message to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, saying that he had created "a new Taliban" and a "new al Qaeda" in Egypt.
The violence was even worse at Cairo University, the site of another pro-Morsy rally, and outside of the capital. Sixteen people were killed and at least 200 were injured in clashes between pro- and anti-Morsy protesters at the Cairo University rally yesterday, causing the military to move in today to separate the groups. A video allegedly filmed today showed clashes between pro-Morsy protesters and Egyptian security forces on the bridge leading up to the university.
Outside of Cairo, four people — three Morsy supporters and one police officer — were killed in the city of Minya, another four were killed in Alexandria, and six Islamists were killed in the western city of Marsa Matrouh.
Evidence also emerged suggesting that ultra-hardline Islamist groups were turning away from politics — and toward violence. A video allegedly filmed in northern Sinai, a traditional flashpoint for jihadist violence, showed an Islamist crowd declaring the formation of a "war council" following the coup, and chanting "no peace after today."
The outpouring of anger came simultaneously with a widespread crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood by the Egyptian military. The movement’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, was arrested; security officials said that up to 300 arrest warrants were issued for leading members of the group; and the government-owned printing press refused to print the newspaper belonging to the Brotherhood’s political party. In an interview with the New York Times, opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei justified such steps as "precautionary measures to avoid violence."