The violent clearing of pro-Morsi demonstrations by security forces have killed at least 525 and injured nearly 4,000, with the victims overwhelmingly supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Demonstrators who witnessed the assault describe bulldozers smashing camps and security forces opening fire on unarmed protesters while turning ambulances away; one medic notes protestors who had been shot in the head and chest. Lina Attalah and Mohamad Salama Adam chronicle the violent dispersal of one sit-in: “Some onlookers were standing at the surrounding buildings, terrified by the unfolding deaths. Others smiled at the thought that the sit-in, which paralyzed their everyday lives for over a month, was coming to the end.”
Reporter Mike Giglio describes being beat and detained by police, and the Washington Post’s Abigail Hauslohner recounts a police officer’s threat that if he saw her colleagues again “I’ll shoot you in the leg.” The Atlantic collects photos of the violence.
Issandr El Amrani warns that each side will welcome their opponents’ “rhetorical and actual violence,” while using it to “whitewash their own” in a cycle of escalating violence. Dan Murphy wonders if the Muslim Brotherhood’s “lesson in the failures of peaceful political organization” will lead it take up violence again. Jay Ulfelder examines the events’ place in the pattern of post-war state-led mass killings.
Highlighting the political divide within Egyptian society, Tarek Radwan quotes an Egyptian activist who remarks that “the Muslim Brotherhood not only made us hate our religion, they made us hate the notion of democracy.”
President Obama has cancelled scheduled military exercises with Egypt, explaining that “our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets.” Isobel Coleman and Marc Lynch both urge the United States to suspend aid to Egypt, with Lynch adding that the US should “refrain from treating the military regime as a legitimate government.”
Meanwhile, violence against Egypt’s Christians continues. While pro-Morsi demonstrators’ attacks on churches have been offered as justification for their dispersal, it’s worth remembering that security forces have also previously failed to prevent deadly attacks.
In a wider view, the American University in Cairo’s Marco Pinfari argues that Morsi’s removal has created a crisis of political legitimacy for his critics, a crisis that recent violence will only deepen.