The state of polarisation in Egypt was clearly reflected in the different reactions different groups and parties have given in response to the deadly violence on Sunday, which coincided with the anniversary of the first day of the 1973 war.
The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) said it was extremely concerned with the Sunday violence. The organisation called for immediate investigations; it added that it condemns the deaths of protesters and asserts the need to deal with them in a peaceful manner to avoid deaths. Hafez Abo Seada, head of the organization, said the occurrence of death among protesters is “extremely dangerous.”
He added that ousted President Mohamed Morsi supporters who were not peaceful should have been dealt with firmly and within the boundaries of the law: arresting perpetrators without causing deaths.
EOHR said it asserts the freedom of assembly and expression in a peaceful manner, but it should be exercised without “violence, vandalism [or] destruction.”
Deadly violence on Sunday between Morsi supporters on the one hand and security forces on the other has left at least 50 dead and around 250 injured. Most of the deaths and injuries were in the governorates of Cairo and Giza. Morsi supporters had called for marches in Tahrir Square, where army supporters gathered to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 6 October War.
The Anti-Coup Alliance said in a statement on Sunday that Egyptians who turned up to “celebrate” the anniversary were “confronted by cold-blooded coup forces that shot to kill, with live bullets…” The alliance accused the “coup commanders” and their collaborators of the deadly violence.
“They [putschists] send their forces to kill, maim, arrest and detain peaceful Egyptians,” the statement read. The alliance said it will not be derailed by the killings, arrests and intimidation, adding that all this would only make them “more determined.”
A youth group within the alliance, the Youth Anti-Coup Alliance, said in a statement in the early hours of Monday that “the militias” who committed a new crime against Egypt by killing peaceful protesters on the streets “will not deter Egyptians from demanding their rights.” The youth group also said that they will continue to work on “bringing down the coup and trying all of its leaders.”
Voicing a different opinion, Heba Yassin, the spokesperson of Al-Tayar Al-Shaaby, said the Muslim Brotherhood “were trying to taint the historic day.”
“They make use of any violence to exploit the fall of victims for their gains,” she said. Yassin added that they were also trying to “destabilize the state” and create “disorder.”
The Head of the Free Egyptians Party Ahmed Saeed said the Brotherhood’s insistence on protesting on Sunday goes against “nationalism and belonging.”
The Anti-Coup Alliance asked the “Egyptian people” to protest in Tahrir square on Friday, saying that the square “is a property of all Egyptians, nobody will ban us [from protesting there] whatever the costs” in a statement they issued on Sunday night.
The alliance also called for student protests in schools and universities on Tuesday to denounce “the massacres against the Egyptians”.
The alliance announced the continuation of marches during this week, under the slogan “the people regain the October spirit”. The protests aim, according to the statement, to denounce the army’s current leaders, “who marred the army’s doctrine and opened fire on the Egyptian people.”