in support of
Thousands of demonstrators gather in Cairo on Friday to show their support for the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Click image to enlarge.
WHEN THE MILITARY OUSTED democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt on Wednesday, it certainly fit the definition of a coup d’état.
But was it?
And what does it mean for democracy in that ancient land?
The BBC reports this morning that the Muslim Brotherhood is calling for massive demonstrations in support of Morsi, calling it “The Day of Rejection.”
“Today will be the first test of the army’s control of the streets,” BBC World Service radio reported at 13:00 GMT.
It’s certainly a complicated situation. But when a democratically elected president – no matter how unpopular – is thrown out by a military junta, the will of the people is thwarted. That is not democracy.
VIDEO LINK BELOW THE FOLD
Tourism has collapsed in Egypt but one could not tell that by these crowds still visiting the top attraction, the pyramids.
Some of the driving forces behind Egypt’s unrest were definitely economic. Food is expensive and fuel is in short supply. A mainstay of the economy, tourism has collapsed.
A year after his election, Morsi had accomplished little to fix it.
In a statement issued Thursday, the World Bank Group called for an end to the turmoil and street demonstrations.
“A calm period ahead will be critical for the economy to recover quickly from its recent downturn,” the statement said.
“We encourage all parties to embrace healthy economic management with a view of establishing sound inclusive governance with the participation of all of Egypt’s voices.”
Inflation is running wild in Egypt. “If something used to cost one (Egyptian) pound, it now costs four or five pounds,” an unidentified shopper in a market told the BBC on July 2.
Another said: “It’s not becoming better. There’s rubbish on the streets, there’s no petrol and prices are becoming more expensive.”
In the same report, it is noted that there has been a precipitous decline the country’s foreign exchange reserves, and that attempts to borrow money from the International Monetary Fund have been unsuccessful.
Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
The Quatar-based but widely respected Al Jazeera network, reporting this morning, has already decided the events constitute a coup d’etat.
“While the military coup came in the wake of mass protests seeking Morsi’s dismissal, the ex-president’s supporters are angry and have denounced the army’s intervention,” it claims.
Morsi is reportedly being held at a military detention center.
IS CIVIL WAR NEXT?
Thousands of supporters of Morsi gathered in Nasr City in the Egyptian capital “to protest against his ouster as the country’s president in a military coup,” Al Jazeera added.
“We feel like Egypt has come back to us now,” one pro-Morsi demonstrator said.
“The military has described its actions as it’s patriotic duty,” says Al Jazeera reporter Johan Hull.
The beauty of Al Jazeera compared to most western media is that the voices it airs are authentic: men and women in the streets speaking their minds.
The military demonstrates its muscle with constant flyovers by jets as protesters in the streets below and rally to reject its takeover of power in Egypt.
Most American reporters talk just to official sources.
“We want to reverse this military coup,” one protester told Al Jazeera.
“A united Egypt seems an unlikely prospect,” Hull says in his wrap.
In its round-up of international reaction to events, Al Jazeera – perhaps unintentionally – demonstrates its disdain for the United States. The quote from President Barack Obama is listed third last; the European Union statement is first.
Watch a video of the international reaction here.
“U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement saying he was deeply concerned by the decision by Egyptian military to depose Morsi, and called for a swift return to civilian government,” Al Jazeera reported.
“No transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people,” Obama reportedly said.
“An honest, capable and representative government is what ordinary Egyptians seek and what they deserve.”
And this means that the army can not just overthrow a democratically elected president, no matter what the demonstrators say or do.