Egypt’s up in flames and my wife and I are staying in today.
Our eyes are glued to the TV; switching between CNN International, various Egyptian channels, Al Jazeera (both English and Arabic), and France 24 (an English channel from France). My wife is linked into her Twitter feed, getting reports from activists and NGOs.
All the details of the pandemonium are still a bit vague. But my understanding at this point is the following: At 6:30 this morning, Egyptian Security Forces went in to break up the Muslim Brother protest next to Cairo University. They violently managed to dismantle it within a matter of minutes. Security forces are still working at dismantling the larger protest in Nasr City.
There are apparently a lot of guns out on the streets. And all sorts of reports of gunfire are coming in. CNN and Al Jazeera refuse to report that Muslim Brothers are shooting. But most everyone else is reporting the opposite, that Muslim Brothers are shooting at security forces and security forces are shooting right back.
Some random weirdness: CNN just mentioned a “plain clothes police officer” with an AK-47. The Muslim Brothers are reporting police throwing Molotov cocktails at their makeshift clinics.
Death/injury toll numbers vary at this point.
- The Ministry of Health is reporting 23 dead and over 200 injured (likely an understatement)
- Al Jazeera is reporting at least 94 dead
- The Muslim Brothers are reporting at least 2,200 dead and 10,000 injured (likely an overstatement)
Meanwhile, in a continuation of the violence that’s been inflicted upon Coptic Christians by Muslim Brothers over the course of the last year, there are reports of church burnings in Dilga, Menya, and Sohag. I’ve seen video footage of Saint George’s Church in Sohag up in flames.
I’ll write some more analysis of all this later. But for now, all I have to say is that the Egyptian Military has completely mishandled the situation. It would be correct to criticize the Muslim Brothers on a number of matters. But what’s happening right now is on the interim government’s watch. What they are doing right now, what they started doing this morning, is not only an affront to both the human and civil rights of protesters, but politically stupid, as it allows the Muslim Brothers to CORRECTLY play the victim card.