Muslim Brotherhood now the target of Friday demonstrations
Friday has taken on a special meaning in Egypt since the revolution. It has always been the day of rest and for pious Muslims features a special mid-day prayer at the mosque. Since the revolution, Friday has become the chosen day for mass protests, so much so that most of the earlier demonstration Fridays had their own name tags denoting their main objectives. It is no surprise either that mass demonstrations often referred to as ‘Millioneyas’ (a reference to the million of protestors who gathered in Tahrir square to topple Mubarak) has since been established as a key tool for establishing pressure and demands for political change. It undeniably worked and a revolution erupted.
Calls for a massive protest, or yet another Millionya, against the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood on Aug. 24 have been gaining momentum in the last few weeks. Responses to the call for protest have been full of controversy as the intent of the protest evolved and developed accordingly. Initially there much confusion over who was organizing the protest and who was supporting it, in addition to rumors that violence against the Muslim Brotherhood and their quarters were on the rise. This Friday and Saturday have been labeled ‘the revolution of Aug. 24 and 25,” according to the latest announcement from Mohamed Abo Hamed, broadcast on YouTube late Aug. 23. Abo Hamed, who boasts a religious background, is a newcomer to the political scene. His rise to political activism began when he ran for membership in the first parliament established after the revolution on the ballot of the new liberal party Al Massreyeen Al Ahrar. He has since resigned from the party and is creating his own political party while also starting up a civic organization.
In his latest announcement, a 40-minute direct political lecture, he laid out the list of the demonstration’s demands, insisting the demonstrations were to be peaceful and mainly targeted against the Muslim Brotherhood assuming power of the nation. He divided the aims of the demonstration into the opposition to some of the president’s decisions and power, but the bulk of his declaration was indeed targeted towards the Muslim Brotherhood. He questioned their role so far and demanded transparency and accountability or alternatively their dissolution. The Brotherhood and their party have been quick to claim victimization and play the defensive, claiming the demonstrators were out to violently attack them. In the last few days, calls for the protection of their offices were raised as well as calls for their followers to stay off the streets. The official response of the government has been to heighten alerts among security forces and to deploy extra security around the main areas where the demonstrations are expected to be held. Their response is an indication the mobilization were taken seriously enough.
Although the amount of rumors has been confusing to most, it is more the clear inclusion of old guard and Mubarak supporters that might have alienated much of the revolutionary opposition from joining in. The confident well articulated announcement that has clearly stated much of the criticism of the non-supporters of political Islam toward the rule of the Brotherhood and their Freedom and Justice party might be the spark of a second revolution. Abo Hamed made it clear this was only the beginning and much more has been planned. Much will depend on the outcome of Friday and Saturday.