A sit-in by supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi experienced tight security measures Monday morning following clashes at the Republican Guard headquarters.
Military forces, aided by police, blocked all entrances to the sit-in with tanks and armoured trucks. Pedestrians entered through a narrow passage lined with army personnel in order to reach the sit-in, after which they were subjected to a security check. Non-Egyptians were refused entry.
Rocks were scattered on the ground near the sit-in’s entrance from Dokki street. Saeeda Ahmed, a female pro-Morsi protester, said the rocks were to protect protesters against attacks by army personnel and “thugs”.
“They shoot at the sit-in every day,” Ahmed claimed. “When we come in large numbers hurling rocks at them and chanting ‘God is great’, they get scared off.”
Protesters did not allow photos to be taken of the barriers.
Inside, hundreds of protesters gathered around a stage in front of Cairo University’s main gate, and claimed that their numbers multiply at night. Protesters chanted, calling for an Islamist state and railing against Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, the General Commander of the Armed Forces.
Ragab Ali, one of the protesters, had a message to deliver to Al-Sisi: “I tell him to fear God and not to forget about Judgment Day where he shall answer to God for his actions.”
Protesters also spoke against Al-Dostour and National Salvation Front (NSF) leader Mohamed ElBaradei, a fact which was reflected in their chants. Iman Badran, another protester, described ElBaradei as a remnant of the Hosni Mubarak regime.
“His opposition to Mubarak’s regime was ornamental,” Badran said. “Also, don’t ever forget it was ElBaradei who ruined Iraq by saying it possessed weapons of mass destruction, giving the United States an excuse to invade it.”
Badran said she was never a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, admitting that Morsi had committed several mistakes. “Yet, we can’t have the army remove any president we’re not happy about! Is that democracy?”
Badran left the sit-in on Sunday night, she said, only to return Monday morning following the clashes outside the Republican Guards, and added that they expected an attack on this sit-in by the security forces.
“Yesterday, army jets dropped messages to the protesters saying that they’re not excluding anybody and that they encourage peaceful freedom of expression yet….they called on us to disperse the sit-in,” she said.
The Cairo University sit-in started one week ago, following an ultimatum given by the armed forces to the former president, and the opposition, to respond to the peoples’ demands. When the deadline for the ultimatum elapsed, the armed forces announced Morsi’s ouster.