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Report Three

The Egyptian Revolution Against the Muslim Brotherhood

A report by 9 Bedford Row | 10th December 2015 | Download report

1.1) Subject Matter of Report

1]  This report is the third in a series of reports commissioned from members of the 9 Bedford Row International Practice Group, by the State Lawsuit (Litigation) Authority of Egypt which aims to present an independent and comprehensive review of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allied groups and organisations. The first report, entitled “The History of the Muslim Brotherhood” (hereinafter, Report 1)1 was released on 2 April 2015. The second report, “The Egyptian Experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Power 2012 – 2013”   (hereinafter, Report 2)2 was released on 3 June 2015.

2]  This third report looks at the final days leading up to the collapse of the presidency of Mohamed Morsi and an analysis of the key events that unfolded in the weeks following his removal from office. Specifically, it reviews the revolution of 30 June 2013 when the Egyptian people forced Morsi to step down on 3 July 2013 and the following clashes that ensued between security forces and Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

3]  Chapter 2 reviews the final weeks of the Morsi regime and charts the key incidents and decisions that precipitated his downfall. It discusses the resignation of key cabinet ministers that had at this point lost faith in Morsi. Further, it focuses on the repeated efforts, in particular by then Minister of Defence Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, to encourage Morsi to form a more inclusive government and meet the demands of the people and thereby continue in office. In particular, the chapter highlights the collective voice of the vast majority of Egyptians who had become disenchanted with life under a Muslim Brotherhood government and ultimately demanded that Morsi step down.

4]  Chapter 3 looks in depth at the events that unfolded on 3 July 2013 when Morsi was removed from office. It reviews the build-up to these events and the formation of the broad and representative coalition that was formed to reflect all ethnic, political and religious groups in the country and which would eventually make the decision to oust Morsi. It also looks at the various demonstrations and violent incidents that occurred around the country in clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and anti-Morsi protestors.

5]  Chapter 4 goes on to chart the events that occurred in the weeks following the removal of Morsi and the response of the Muslim Brotherhood to this event. In particular, it focuses on the contextual and relevant background surrounding the dispersal of Muslim Brotherhood supporters from mass sit-ins at al-Nadha Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, which had paralysed the daily functioning of the country.

6]  Chapter 5 looks at the 30 June 2013 revolution in Egypt in the context of other popular uprisings in the Middle East, in particular those that occurred in Syria and Libya. It provides an analysis of how events in neighbouring countries acted as a warning sign to the Egyptian people and prompted a ‘call to action’ against Islamist extremists and militant groups – particularly where such exercise near absolute power in the country.

7]  Finally, Chapter 6 offers an assessment of the events that led to the collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt and the events that followed in the weeks thereafter. The evidence examined reveals that there was no plan or pre-existing intention to either remove Morsi from power or use force against Muslim Brotherhood supporters when it became necessary to intervene to disperse the mass sit-ins and restore a measure of normalcy and calm.

1.2 Methodology

8]  This report was produced using both open-source materials, drawing heavily on news reports and other public sources, as well as official documents, speeches, interviews and records obtained from key individuals and the Egyptian government. Where reference is made to sources freely available on-line, hyperlinks have been inserted for ease of reference.3

9]  Further information as to the purpose and objective of these reports, as well as a glossary of terms, is provided in Report 1.4

“Egypt’s first revolution was to get rid of the dead hand, the second revolution was to get rid of the deadheads and the third revolution was to escape from the dead end.”

Thomas L. Friedman, on Egypt 2011-2013

2.1) Introduction

2.1.1 The Peoples’ Revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood

10]  Events in Egypt since the start of the revolution that ousted Mubarak in January 2011 suspended the country in a state of social, political and economic limbo. Over the next two-and-a-half years, Egyptians witnessed the overthrow of a decades-long dictatorship, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the formation of a new Islamist government and constitution.

11]  Celebrated author and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Thomas L. Friedman, put it in a nutshell.6  Between 2011 and 2013 Egypt, he says, went through three revolutions. The first revolution happened because a large number of mostly non-Islamist Egyptian youths grew fed up with the suffocating restrictions of the Mubarak era. The generals who replaced Mubarak proved so incompetent at governing that many liberal Egyptians were ready to vote for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi over a former Mubarak-era general in the June 2012 elections (the second revolution). Once president, Morsi however proved more interested in consolidating the Muslim Brotherhood’s grip on power than governing himself, culminating in millions of people taking to the streets on 30 June 2013 “virtually begg[ing] the military to oust Morsi” in what was to become, according to Friedman, the third revolution.7

12]  The previous report in this series, Report 2,8 discussed the election of Mohamed Morsi as president and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government as well as the events that led to its eventual downfall.

13]  This chapter reviews the last days of the Morsi government and considers the circumstances that ultimately led to the popular revolution that would remove Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power.

14]  A comprehensive review of the key factors that led to the downfall of the Morsi government after only a year in power is set out in Report 2.9 Accordingly, only a brief summary of the key factors is provided in this chapter.

2.2 Collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood government

2.2.1 Longstanding distrust of the Muslim Brotherhood 

15]  Tensions among non-Islamist government officials and other government institutions (in particular the police and security services) were immediately apparent upon news of the election of Mohamed Morsi as president in June 2012. The distrust among many officials and public sector workers of the Muslim Brotherhood was palpable and the thought of serving under a Muslim Brotherhood government caused widespread consternation.11

16]  Such concern was not without basis. Little attention was paid in the last days of the Mubarak regime when a group of Muslim Brotherhood leaders broke free from their cells in a prison in the far off Wadi el-Natroun desert. This incident triggered a series of further prison breaks by other Muslim Brotherhood members around the country resulting in deadly clashes. Among those who escaped from prison were future president and Muslim Brotherhood member, Mohamed Morsi.12

17]  Other events exacerbated the feelings of distrust and anxiety about the Muslim Brotherhood. For example, the January 2011 attacks by Muslim Brotherhood members on public institutions and police buildings which left over 200 police officers dead meant that colleagues who survived the attacks were now obliged to obey orders from their killers, resulting in an inevitably precarious working relationship between police and security officials and their new paymasters.13

18]  A detailed history of the Muslim Brotherhood, mapping its hierarchy and structure and documenting its culture of violence and association with international Islamist terrorist groups, is set out in Report 1.14

19]  Morsi’s brief period in power saw the Muslim Brotherhood impose itself as the real ‘power behind the throne’.15 Its influence over Morsi was obvious from the start with a raft of decisions in the first few weeks and months of his presidency designed to place him and his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government beyond the law16 so as to consolidate power and facilitate a sweeping Islamification of all segments of government and society.17

20]  Outside of Morsi’s cabinet, which throughout his rule became increasingly populated with Muslim Brotherhood members or supporters,18 there was a broad recognition within key state institutions that Egypt was being taken down the wrong path and that the Muslim Brotherhood had effectively taken the reins of power to further its self-confessed objective of creating an Islamic caliphate.19

2.2.2 Separating the army from politics

21]  Morsi represented Egypt’s first civilian president since 1952 20 and the army made clear its desire to respect the result of the elections by keeping a distance from politics.

22]  Former general, Talaat Mosallam, plainly stated that the military “has no interest in going back into politics.” Al-Sisi,21 as newly appointed Minister of Defence, reiterated the army’s non-political stance and announced his ambition to prioritise a “comprehensive programme that develops real training for the forces in all military branches.” 22

23]  Al-Sisi was clear as to his mandate; he was to stick to matters pertaining to the armed forces and military strategy. Politics was a matter for the civil government.23

24]  There was no indication at this early stage that events were to unfold over the next few months which would eventually force the army, albeit reluctantly, to change its position and take a firmer stance with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood government.

2.2.3 The army never planned to get involved in politics 

25]  International media and reports have tended to focus on the army’s role in the revolution of 30 June 2013 with some commentators identifying it as the spearhead in the revolution that removed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power.24

26]  The reality is that the seed of the revolution was planted long before the army got involved and the primary impetus for Morsi’s removal came not from the army but from the civilian masses.25

27]  Almost immediately after assuming power, the Muslim Brotherhood signalled its intent in a string of controversial moves that set the clock ticking on its time in government (see Report 2).27

28]  Following the violent mass protests against Morsi‘s infamous 21 November decree,28 senior army officials offered to act as mediators in an effort to calm tensions between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and anti-government protestors (see also Report 2).29 Despite the dictatorial nature of the announcement, the army, while opposed to the president’s decision, continued to support the government and did not block the new draft constitution.30

29]  Morsi defiantly dismissed the army’s offer of assistance and called off a meeting sought by senior military officials to discuss what action the government should take to calm the brewing storm and avoid further bloodshed.31 This was seen as a move that demonstrated not only Morsi’s own independent authority but also the army’s position that it was not the latter’s place to get involved in politics – a position the army, and al-Sisi, dutifully accepted.32

30]  Illustrative of the army’s aversion to interfere in government matters, one army Colonel when asked about Morsi’s refusal to allow the army to get involved as an intermediary stated,

“It was a veiled message to stay out of politics, and we got it, as we understood that [Morsi] was an elected leader and (it) would be hard to defy that, … but it was clear by then where his rule was driving the state.”33

31]  Far from plotting to overthrow the government and take power, the army was – unlike several key institutions within the public sector34 – keen to give Morsi’s government a chance. The frustration with the army’s reluctance to get involved in political affairs was revealed by a senior security officer of the Minister of Interior who commented,

“The army, like many people who have not dealt directly with the Brotherhood and seen their dirtiness wanted to believe that they have something to offer to Egypt.”35

32]  According to both military as well as government sources,36

“[Al]-Sisi’s call for dialogue, intended to reconcile the president and leaders of the opposition’s National Salvation Front was initially undertaken with the approval of the president but was cancelled after the president changed his mind due to opposition from the Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails.”37

33]  The Muslim Brotherhood’s political strategy of ‘Ihkwanization’ (see Report 2)38 was being exerted to great effect within the government. However, it knew that to become all-powerful, it would need the army onside and therefore repeated attempts were made by members to infiltrate it so as to “Brotherhoodise” the army.39

34]  Apparently, al-Sisi did not want the army to play a political role.40 Rather, he preferred that army to remain neutral. The Muslim Brotherhood was so persistent however, that al-Sisi was eventually forced to make a public statement on 14 February 2013 stressing that he would not allow the Muslim Brotherhood, or any other political group, to dominate the army.

2.3 Army demonstrates loyalty to Morsi government  

2.3.1 Army continues to back Morsi amidst rising tensions41

35]  Morsi’s relationship with the army began as one of suspicion,42 following years of persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood members by the military under the former regime (see Report 1 and Report 2).43 44 In conjunction, the army too became disillusioned by its leaders, in particular with General Field Marshal Tantawi, who it was perceived had mismanaged the army’s institutional and strategic interests and, as a result, national security.45

36]  Morsi’s announcement on 12 August 2012 to reshuffle five senior military figures, forcibly ending Tantawi’s twenty-year career as Minister of Defence was welcomed.46 Known for his loyalty to Mubarak,47 Tantawi’s dismissal marked a symbolic departure from the former government, and the beginning of a fresh start between the military and the government. Tantawi was replaced by then Director of Military Intelligence, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.48

37]  A pious Muslim, al-Sisi and Morsi got on well together at first.49 The military and Morsi maintained a symbiotic relationship as the mutual feeling was that each needed the other; the informal covenant being that the military required the president’s support to maintain its strength and standing in Egyptian society and in return it would support the government and refrain from interfering in politics.50

38]  The 21 November decree, as well as other divisive decisions contradicted Morsi’s promise of democratic and inclusive government and steered Egypt onto what many feared was a ‘dangerous’ path.

39]  Accordingly, Morsi’s plan to hope to persuade al-Sisi, who held the trust and respect of the majority of Egyptian people (including non-Muslims and moderates),51 to continue supporting his and the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda, became strained.

40]  Tensions between the army and the government had already started to brew after the first few months of Morsi’s presidency.52 Although there was no question of replacing Morsi, the army was coming under increasing pressure from all sides, including political parties and the civil service.53

41]  In spite of this, al-Sisi and his senior officers resisted pressure from the more rebellious factions in the Interior Ministry who openly expressed their distrust of the Muslim Brotherhood government.54   There was also a growing security issue with larger, more frequent and increasingly violent riots against the Muslim Brotherhood government’s self-serving policies and decisions which, in turn, triggered counter-riots from Muslim Brotherhood supporters (including other Islamist militant groups), often with deadly consequences. This is illustrated in detail in Chapter 3 of this report. See also Report 2.55

42]  Public sources reveal that throughout the riots leading up to and following the 2012 constitutional referendum, the army continued to protect the president’s safety from the swarming protestors.56 On 5 December 2012, the angry crowds had swelled and the police were forced to erect barricades around the president’s offices.57 On 9 December 2012, when thousands more joined the protests calling for Morsi’s resignation, the Republican Guard deployed four tanks to ensure the protection of the president.58 It is clear that the army showed continued deference and support to Morsi, even after his actions had begun to resemble that of the authoritarian government before him.

43]  Although al-Sisi continued to support Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government, he was not blind to the dangers apparent from the direction the country was being taken under Muslim Brotherhood rule (see sections 2.3.2 and 2.3.3 below).

44]  As early as December 2012, al-Sisi confronted Morsi and expressed his concern about specific government decisions and, on one particular instance, vocally opposed a proposed government plan (reportedly directly channelled from the General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood) to sell land in Sinai to Palestinian and Qatari ‘investors’ for what was claimed to be “for tourist purposes”.59 The concern was that this was a Muslim Brotherhood ploy to covertly fund affiliated terrorist groups (see Report 1).60 What precisely happened as a result of al-Sisi’s intervention is unclear.

45]  The Muslim Brotherhood ignored all dissent and criticism.61 Instead, it got bolder in its attempts to consolidate power and was not averse to using violence to achieve this. This is illustrated in detail in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 of this report (see also Report 1 for an illustration of the Muslim Brotherhood’s history of violence and Report 2 where it used violence to keep and consolidate power).62 63

46]  In one incident, government ministers in a meeting with Morsi – seemingly unaware that they were on live television – suggested sabotaging an Ethiopian project to build a dam on the Nile by arming Ethiopian rebels, launching a campaign to boast of Egypt’s military might and “finishing the job” with Egyptian fighter jets.64 Morsi refrained from giving them explicit support but did not reject the proposal and later declared that “all options are open.”65

47]  It was to be Morsi’s strategy to tacitly accept the decisions made by the Muslim Brotherhood leadership while being cautious not to directly endorse them in public. One striking example of this (other examples are discussed in Report 2)66 was during a pro-Syrian rebel rally on 17 June 2013 at which conservative Sunni clerics and high-ranking members of the Muslim Brotherhood were present.67 The Islamist speakers repeatedly called for jihad in Syria.

48]  This was seen by some as an attempt by Morsi to gain western favour to help counter simmering social anger and discontent at home by ‘joining’ the international community in the fight against the Assad regime. It was also seen as an implicit push by Sunni extremists for sectarian violence against Shiites and Alawites. Although Morsi himself did not call for violence, he failed to distance himself from other ultraconservative Salafists speakers at the rally, including one who referred to Shiites as infidels. Instead, he asserted that the Egyptian “nation, leadership and army will not abandon the Syrian people.”68

49]  Through its support of the ‘Syrian people’, the Muslim Brotherhood (with Morsi’s support or acquiescence) armed and funded Islamic terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda in Syria under the guise of supporting the international coalition against the Assad regime – actions that would also, in part, give rise to the birth of the new Islamic State terrorist group69  (for more on the links between the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic militant groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State see Report 1).70

50]  These, and other decisions (see Report 2 on the Ihkwanization of the Egyptian government),71 raised concerns among the Interior Ministry and the non-Islamist political parties.72The pressure on the government, of which al-Sisi was a part, became even more intense in the course of continued and growing mass-protests against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

51]  Concerned about the rising tide of public anger and growing unrest, Al-Sisi had, months earlier, warned Morsi that to survive and ward off further popular protests the government needed to be more inclusive and engage with other political parties.73 This advice was not heeded by the Muslim Brotherhood as it was intent on consolidating power and embarking on a full-scale Islamification of the country.74 As a result, Morsi became increasingly unpopular and the mass protests continued to grow.

52]  Intent on giving the government another opportunity to fulfill its democratic mandate, al-Sisi, as the Defense Minister, remained reluctant to intervene and involve the army in government affairs.75

53]  By June 2013 however, the febrile atmosphere had reached boiling point and the country was close to descending into chaos.

2.3.2 Pressure grows on army to support demands of Egyptian people

54]  At the now-infamous rally at Cairo Stadium on 17 June 2013 (mentioned in paragraph 47 above), attended by Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, a conservative hardliner, described those planning to take part in anti-Morsi rallies on 30 June 2013 as infidels (see Report 2).76 77

55]  The anti-government Tamarod campaign launched in May 2013 (discussed in Report 2)78 was gaining momentum and with Morsi’s continued defiant stance toward protestors, tens of thousands of anti-Muslim Brotherhood protestors joined them on the streets demanding he resign and that new elections be called.79

56]  In response, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood called upon Islamist supporters to launch counter-demonstrations with a view to disrupting the anti-Morsi crowds and depict Morsi as a peacemaker and unfair target, rather than the cause of the problem.

57]  On 21 June 2013, tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters organised a demonstration in central Cairo, demonstrating in support for the president. 80

2.3.3 Tipping point 

58]  In contrast to the anti-Morsi protestors, which were predominantly non-violent,81 the Muslim Brotherhood once again showed its propensity for violence to achieve its aims by arming themselves with home-made bombs and steel batons.82 As illustrated in Report 1,83 violence has characterised the group’s activities and core philosophy since its formative years in the early 1930s.

59]  Amidst the growing tide of civil unrest, on 23 June 2013 al-Sisi warned Morsi that the army was prepared to act decisively to prevent chaos and further bloodshed as fears rose that mass protests against Morsi planned for 30 June could ignite fresh violence between his Islamists supporters and the protestors.84 Once again, Morsi refused to listen. Al-Sisi was firm in his rebuke, warning Morsi, that the army would, if necessary,

“prevent Egypt from slipping into a dark tunnel of civil unrest and killing, sectarianism and the collapse of state institutions.”85

60]  On 26 June 2013, Morsi delivered a two-and-half hour speech to the nation.86 It was expected to be a reconciliatory speech but was widely viewed as provocative and full of threats and accusations targeted against opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, including media presenters as well as prominent individuals such as Ahmed Shafik, his former rival in the 2012 Egyptian presidential elections.87 One reporter directly noted the tone of Morsi’s speech as that of an “authoritarian ruler”,

“Morsi reminded his audience several times that he is indeed the President of Egypt and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Was this a subtle threat?”88

61]  Morsi further presented dubious statistics in an effort to obfuscate the reality of his government’s mismanagement of the economy.89

62]  Following his speech, anti-Morsi protestors vowed that they were now even more determined to take to the streets on the planned 30 June 2013 uprising against the president.90

63]  On 28 June 2013, tensions mounted and violence escalated. Several individuals were killed during clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters in the city of Alexandria, including 21-year-old Andrew Pochter, an American student who was reportedly stabbed to death as he observed the demonstrations.91

64]  The following day, thousands of Egyptians converged on Tahrir Square in Cairo to demonstrate against Morsi, demanding his resignation.92 That same day, violent clashes continued to erupt in Alexandria, Cairo and Port Said between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and anti-government protestors leaving several targeted protestors (including prominent journalists)93 dead and many more seriously injured.94 The deliberately lethal nature of the attacks against protestors was illustrated by reports alleging that homemade bombs (suggesting a significant degree of planning) were hurled against crowds of protestors resulting in many civilian casualties.95

65]  As a result of the loss of confidence in Morsi and his government, nine members of the parliament’s upper house resigned;96 among them, Nadia Henry, who spoke at a press conference held by the Tamarod initiative, where it was announced that the number of anti-Morsi signatories reached 22 million.97 Henry read a collective statement from those members of the upper house who resigned, stating,

“Today we join the national will and declare our mass resignation.”98

66]  Meanwhile, dozens of opposition tents were erected around the presidential palace. Posters carrying the now-common phrase “come down in protest” were stuck on tents and handed out to cars driving by the sit-in. Insults, political slogans and anti-Morsi graffiti were spray-painted on the massive cement barricade built around the presidential palace but violent attacks on pro-government supporters were rare.99 What was clear was the degree of widespread anger against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood government.

67]  Hamdi Hamza, a 70-year-old former government employee, captured this sentiment. He stated,

“[Morsi is] a killer… he must and will leave […] [t]he Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi proved to be a disaster to what is left in Egypt, they occupied the country and instead of rescuing it; they destroyed it further. The only reason he is in power is that we chose him over Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s alter ego […] [w]e now regret it and we will topple him.”100

68]  At the same time, just a few miles away, the Muslim Brotherhood led several Islamist parties and movements in pro-Morsi demonstrations and mass sit-ins. In stark contrast to the anti-Morsi protestors, they wore helmets and were armed with wooden and metal batons and homemade metal shields with some carrying homemade bombs,101 which, one can surmise, are items not generally employed for peaceful protests. The pro-Morsi protesters were there to fight.

2.3.4 The government rebuked al-Sisi’s attempts for proper dialogue among all political parties

69]  In anticipation of violent confrontations and attacks on government facilities, Egypt’s military and its police and health departments started deploying troops, armoured vehicles and ambulance units in and around protest sites.102 This further demonstrated that, even at this point, the army was fulfilling its duty to protect the president.

70]  By 30 June 2013, thousands of protestors surrounded the presidential palace103 and a few days later sieged the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters.104 Demonstrations were reported to be in progress in 18 locations across Cairo‪ and in other different locations across the country.‪ With tens of millions on the streets the country was brought to a standstill. Egypt was in chaos.105

71]  Still al-Sisi, who at this point was seen as the only viable peace broker between the government and the protestors due to the respect he and the army commanded from within both camps, refused to give up trying to find a peaceful solution and allow the government to continue.

72]  Al-Sisi had spent much of 31 June locked in meetings with his key generals and with senior religious and opposition figures, including the opposition leader Mohamed el-Baradei, the country’s leading Sunni cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Tayeb, and the Coptic pope, Tawadros II.106 He did not meet Morsi, but had spent four hours with him the day before discussing a power-sharing plan.107 Morsi however was not interested in consensus.108

73]  With the country at the brink of a civil war, a coalition comprised of a broad and representative group of political and social leaders directed al-Sisi, during a meeting with Morsi the following day on 1 July 2013, to present to the president a 48-hour ultimatum: resolve the crisis or resign and if you refuse the army would step in to quell the increasingly violent protests. If the president forced the army’s hand in doing so, the coalition, with the cooperation and support of the army, would proceed to answer the call of the Egyptian people by formulating a political ‘road-map’ which would put in place arrangements for new elections to be held as soon as possible.109 The message was simple – Morsi had 48 hours to earnestly and effectively address the peoples’ concerns, or the Egyptian people would remove him from office.

74]  The coalition and roadmap is discussed further in Chapter 3.

75]  Predictably, Morsi alluded to proposals of improved ‘national dialogue’ but failed to offer any concrete concessions.110 Indeed, the president’s aides later reported Morsi warning “this before that”, pointing to his neck; vowing to die before stepping down.

2.4 The end of the Muslim Brotherhood government 

2.4.1 Former close allies of Morsi now supported army intervention111

76]  Morsi’s government was now on the brink of collapse as his own cabinet began to turn on him. Following the earlier resignations of members of the upper house of parliament (Shura), over the next 24 hours six ministers had resigned, including his military adviser, Sami Enan, who had until then remained loyal to Morsi.112 Upon his resignation, Enan stated that the army “would not abandon the will of the people.”113

77]  By 2 July 2013 it was clear that Muslim Brotherhood’s time in power was up.114 Its self-serving policies and actions while in power had been an unmitigated disaster for Egypt. Economic growth had halved during Morsi’s presidency115 and over 25% of the population was living below the poverty line (see Report 2 for more detail on the impact of the Muslim Brotherhood rule on Egypt).116 Friedman confirmed this,

“It is difficult to exaggerate how much the economy and law and order had deteriorated under President Morsi. So many Egyptians were feeling insecure that there was a run on police dogs! So many tour guides were out of work that tourists were warned to avoid the Pyramids because desperate camel drivers and postcard-sellers would swarm them.”

78]  Quoting a poll by the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research, it was found that “71 percent of Egyptians were unsympathetic with pro-Morsi protests.”117

79]  Morsi’s incompetent and increasingly autocratic rule disaffected many of his supporters amongst Egypt’s poor and middle classes, said Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics.118

“’That some of the revolutionaries are calling on the army to return to politics is a testament to how polarized Egypt is a year after the election of [Morsi],’ Gerges said. ‘Think of the millions of people who cheered [Morsi] after his election. Think of the millions of Egyptians who pinned their hopes on [him]. A year later, now, the millions of Egyptians who cheered for [Morsi] are saying he must go.’”

80]  The end had come for Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Furious protestors filled the streets, and over 22 million people had signed the Tamarod’s petition demanding Morsi’s resignation.119

81]  While reiterating his personal desire to keep the military out of politics, al-Sisi was finally compelled to accept that the army had a responsibility to respond to the wishes of the Egyptian and take action to quell the escalating violence.120 The alternative (i.e. the army doing nothing) would undoubtedly have resulted in the country descending into a violent and chaotic civil war that would have brought with it a much higher civilian death toll.

2.5 Agreement to remove Morsi involved a broad and representative coalition – army did not act unilaterally

2.5 Agreement to remove Morsi involved a broad and representative coalition – army did not act unilaterally121

82]  As mentioned earlier in this chapter and discussed in more detail in Chapter 3 of this report, the army’s participation in Morsi’s eventual removal and arrest was part of a wider coalition comprising leading figures and representatives from across the political, social and religious spectrum.122

83]  In a televised speech on 3 July 2013,123 al-Sisi announced that the armed forces could not stay silent and blind to the call of the Egyptian masses.

84]  He spoke of a new roadmap for the future, and said that the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, would be given the task of “running the country’s affairs during the transitional period until the election of a new president.”124

85]  Al-Sisi spoke of his “historic responsibility” in front of a panel of Egyptians representing what was intended to be “a full spectrum of Egyptian life” and which formed the core of the coalition that had agreed on the plan of action with the army. Key members included the Coptic pope, the country’s most senior Muslim cleric, and leading secular politician Mohamed el-Baradei.125

86]  Following al-Sisi’s address, both Pope Tawadros II – the head of the Coptic Church – and leading opposition figure Mohammed el-Baradei, made short televised speeches about the new roadmap for Egypt’s future that they had agreed with the army. El-Baradei said the roadmap aimed for “national reconciliation” and represented a fresh start to the January 2011 revolution.126 Pope Tawadros II added that the roadmap has been drafted “by…[those]…who seek the interests, first and foremost, of the country.”127 Opposition leader and former head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, expressed similar agreement and optimism, promising that consultations for a government and reconciliation “will start from now.”128

87]  As mentioned previously, the key features of the roadmap are set out in Chapter 3 below.

88]  Al-Sisi justified the army’s involvement in that Morsi had lost his legitimacy as president as a result of his failure and unwillingness to address the concerns of the Egyptian people and work with opposition parties.129 It suspended the constitution and appointed Adly Mansour as Egypt’s interim president.130 The plan at this stage was simple and had unanimous support from all members of the coalition – to avoid further bloodshed and maintain peace and calm until elections could be held and a new, democratically elected president chosen (see Chapter 3).

89]  Al-Sisi’s decision to involve the army in the eleventh hour was widely supported both domestically and internationally. US Secretary of State John Kerry supported the army’s action, stating that Egypt’s army was “restoring democracy.” He stated during a visit to Pakistan,

“The military did not take over… The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people.” 131

90]  Former Egyptian presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, supported the view that al-Sisi remained loyal to Morsi as long as he could, so much so that he was even considered part of the Morsi regime.132 He stated in an interview,

“Al-Sisi was part of Morsi’s regime and saluted him (as the defense minister), while I was saying: ‘Down with Morsi’s legitimacy!’”133

91]  Sabbahi went on to say that the army was not responsible for ousting Morsi.134

“The army cannot move without the people’s order… The people moved on June 30, and then the army moved afterwards on July 3.”

2.6 Closing Remarks

92]  This chapter has looked at the circumstances that led to the end of the Muslim Brotherhood’s brief period in power and the popular movement that resulted in Morsi’s removal as president. The consequences of his rule for Egypt were devastating and have been discussed in previous reports.

93]  The next chapter traces the specific actions that followed on the 3 July 2013 when Morsi was removed from power and the events that followed.

3.1) 3 July 2013

3.1.1 Introduction

94]  Following what was described as the biggest demonstration in the history of Egypt on 30 June 2013,135 the Tamarod (Rebellion) movement insisted they would remain in the street until Morsi stepped down. Tamarod issued a statement on 1 July 2013 giving Morsi until 5 pm on 2 July 2013 to leave and pave the way for early presidential elections or else it would bring the crowds back out, march on more palaces and launch “complete civil disobedience”.136 Tamarod warned that the protests could drag the country into civil war and called on the military and the police to clearly state their support for the protesters.137

95]  Later on 1 July 2013, on state television, Defence Minister and head of the army, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a statement, which set out three important points.

96]  First, the statement indicated that the army perceived the deeply divided nation as a threat to national security, and any intervention would be as a matter of duty to the nation. Echoing his speech of 23 June 2013 where al-Sisi had stated that the army would not allow Egypt to enter a “dark tunnel of conflict” and had called on all political factions to reach consensus,138 al-Sisi said that,

“National security is under threat following the latest developments.”

97]  Second, the statement indicated that the army recognized the mass protests and petition as the expression of popular democracy, in a system where there was no effective mechanism to impeach and remove a president.

98]  Al-Sisi supported the “unprecedented” expression of “the will of the people”, which Morsi had recognised as, “the source of power and legitimacy” following his election to president a year earlier.139 He emphasized that,

“the armed forces will not … go against the democratic thoughts that emanate from the people of Egypt of their own free will” and that, “the armed forces feels obligated to embrace the will of the people.”140

99]  External support for this view comes from U.S. President Obama, who stressed in a call to Morsi on 1 July 2013 that,

“democracy is about more than elections; it is also about ensuring that the voices of all Egyptians are heard and represented by their government, including the many Egyptians demonstrating throughout the country.”141

100]  Third, al-Sisi’s statement emphasized that any decisions would be taken by a coalition of social and political forces, collaborating in the name of the will of the people. Al-Sisi said “the armed forces will not be a party in politics” and that a proposed roadmap for the future, “if the demands of the people are not realized” within 48 hours, would be overseen,

“in collaboration with all the loyal national factions and movements, including the youth who were and remain the spark of the glorious revolution. No one would be ignored.”142

101]  Indeed, invitations to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party to attend meetings before and after Morsi’s removal were made, but were declined.143

102]  The events of 3 July 2013 indicate that it became apparent, following Morsi’s midnight speech, that it would be impossible for political factions to reach consensus by the ultimatum’s deadline. Moreover, it became clear that further delay could not lead to a political resolution but risked increased fighting and possible civil war. As el-Baradei said,

“In my judgment, we could not have waited even one more week.”144

103]  Following the expiration of the ultimatum, al-Sisi made a televised speech (as mentioned in Chapter 2) reiterating the three points that he had emphasized on 1 July 2013, that a coalition of social and political forces had decided, in the name of the popular will, and to avert the threat to national security, that new presidential elections would be called.

3.1.2 3 July 2013: Morsi’s rejection of the ultimatum

104]  President Morsi’s public response to al-Sisi’s ultimatum on behalf of the Egyptian people came at midnight on 2 – 3 July 2013, after a four-hour long meeting between Morsi and al-Sisi at the Presidential Palace that day, reportedly discussing a power-sharing plan.145

105]  A statement on the official Facebook page of the Office of Assistant to President for Foreign Relations and International Cooperation released on 3 July 2013 said that the President discussed, “an initiative from an alliance of parties supporting constitutional legitimacy” with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence.  The statement provided that,

“the initiative called for a full change of cabinet, a prime minister acceptable to all, changing the public prosecutor, agreement on constitutional amendments, and a reconciliation commission” and that “all three of them agreed that it presented an excellent path for Egypt out of its current impasse.”146

106]  Morsi refused to resign and call early presidential elections, as called for by Tamarod’s petition, mass protests, and their ultimatum threatening civil disobedience.147

107]  Morsi’s public response did not relieve the mounting tension on the street, or the threat of civil war. Instead, his response entrenched it. Morsi claimed that any attempt to force him from power would spark violent conflict between Islamists and their opponents and proclaimed,

“if the price of protecting legitimacy is my blood, I’m willing to pay it.”148

108]  On 3 July 2013, Ayman Ali, a spokesman for Morsi reiterated Morsi’s response to the ultimatum, stating that Morsi believed it was better to,

“die standing like a tree” and “defend the democratic system” than to resign.149

3.1.3 3 July 2013: Response to Morsi’s rejection of the ultimatum

109]  Morsi’s midnight speech was immediately interpreted by many on social media as a coded message to Muslim Brotherhood activists to unleash war on their fellow Egyptians, “enemies of the true faith” and thus as incitement to violence.150

110]  Mohamed el-Baradei, leader of the opposition Dustour (constitution) Party and representative of the opposition umbrella group the National Salvation Front, took a similar view. He appealed for military intervention to save Egyptian lives, saying Morsi’s speech showed that he had “lost his mind” and “incited bloodshed of Egyptians.”151

111]  Mahmoud Badr, one of the founders of Tamarod also called for,

“the army to intervene to prevent the bloodshed of the Egyptian people.”152

112]  The statement by Gehad el-Haddad, the official spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood movement appeared to support such fears. He said that his supporters were willing to become martyrs to defend Morsi,

“There is only one thing we can do: we will stand in between the tanks and the president.”153

113]  Prior to the mass protests of 30 June 2013, Al Azhar had warned in a statement of potential “civil war.154

114]  Mohamed el-Beltagy, a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader had declared that, “seeking martyrdom,” was the only choice to stop “the coup of June 30.155” Pro-Morsi protesters had been chanting, “[w]e will sacrifice our lives for our religion”156 and members of the Muslim Brotherhood were reported to have marched in the streets carrying death shrouds.157

115]   Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members, many armed with clubs and helmets, had been camped in front of Raba’a al-Adaweya Mosque in anticipation of a battle to defend Morsi.158 On 3 July 2013 men with helmets and shields were manning the entrance to the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in in front of Raba’a al-Adaweya Mosque.159

116]  Street battles had occurred between pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi supporters, causing injuries and deaths. For example, on 2 July 2013 fighting near Cairo University was described as “literal war”,160 with at least 18 people reported to have been killed and more than 300 injured.161 On 3 July 2013, tanks and soldiers were deployed to separate the pro- and anti-Morsi protesters, in anticipation of further unrest.162

117]  On 3 July 2013, following 3 days of mass protests, Tamarod had called for protesters to march to the Republican Guard Palace, where Morsi was believed to be staying, at 4 pm – the deadline of the military ultimatum for political resolution, to demand Morsi’s arrest on charges of inciting a civil war.163 Hundreds of thousands of anti-Morsi protesters also gathered in Tahrir Square, the Ittihadiya Palace and the Ministry of Defence prior to the expiry of the ultimatum.164 Protests were reported in Alexandria, Kafr El-Sheikh, Tanta, Menoufiya, Domiat, Sharqiya, and Mansoura.165

3.1.4 3 July 2013: Army Response to Morsi’s rejection of the ultimatum

118]  Three hours after Morsi’s speech, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces posted its response on its official Facebook page. The post entitled, “The Final Hours” made it clear that the army would support the people. It said,

“We swear to God that we will sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool.”166

119]  During al-Sisi’s announcement after the expiry of the ultimatum, he explained that it was Morsi’s speech that had convinced a coalition of political, national, religious, and youth forces and the army of the need to act to end “the state of conflict and division.” There had been “hope that national accord would be achieved to delineate a roadmap” but Morsi’s speech had, “failed to meet the overall demands of the people.”167

3.1.5 3 July 2013: Last minute negotiations

120]  On 3 July 2013, al-Sisi met with: Mohamed el-Baradei; representative for the National Salvation Front and the April 6 Youth Movement; representatives of the “Tamarod” (Rebel) campaign; members of the Salafi Nour party and the head of the Coptic Church; Pope Tawadros II, and Sheik Ahmed El-Tayeb, head of Al-Azhar.168 The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party was invited to attend, but refused to send a delegation, stating, “we have a President and that is it.”169

121]  As the deadline set for Morsi to meet Tamarod’s demands to resign and call new presidential elections or face complete civil disobedience approached, the Egyptian military spokesman confirmed that the General Command was holding meetings with “religious, national, political and youth figures” and said a statement would be released as soon as the talks ended.170

122]  On 7 July 2013, Mahmoud Badr, one of the leaders of the Tamarod movement, said that he had rejected a suggestion by al-Sisi that Morsi should call a referendum on his continued rule telling him that, “Millions of people were demonstrating for the recall of the president, not for a referendum.”

123]  Badr recalled that he had said, “I tell you, sir, you may be the general commander of the Egyptian army but the Egyptian people are your supreme commander, and they are immediately ordering you to side with their will and call an early presidential election” and that al-Sisi had given in.171

124]  Morsi released a statement on the Facebook account of his official spokesman, reiterating his position that, “violating constitutional legitimacy threatens democratic practice,” that “legitimacy is the sole guarantor of stability and resistance to violence and unlawful means,” and that “Egyptians have their say at the ballot box.” He said it would be biased to listen to one side, and proposed that the President form a coalition to oversee the parliamentary elections and an independent commission to propose constitutional amendments.172

125]  A spokesman for President Morsi released a statement on the Facebook page of the Office of Assistant to President for Foreign Relations and International Cooperation condemning the political opposition for refusing to participate in discussions called for by the President “since January and again in the last couple of weeks” and for “inviting the military to become the custodians of government in Egypt.”173

126]  The statement warned that, “there will be considerable bloodshed,” and said that to move those gathered to support democracy and the Presidency, “there will have to be violence.” It threatened worldwide catastrophic ramifications for the message that, “will resonate through the Muslim world loud and clear: democracy is not for Muslims.”174

127]  Two hours after the expiry of the deadline, it was reported that the deadline had been extended in an effort to reach consensus and to prevent further violence and to guarantee the president’s safety.175

128]  Shortly after, military armoured vehicles were deployed close to Cairo University in Giza, along the Nile Bridge connecting Giza and Cairo, in Tahrir Square, at the Ittihadiya presidential palace, and at the Raba’a Al-Adawiya Mosque, where rallies were being staged, and the Central Security Forces were present at Tahrir Square and key state institutions.176

129]  Travel bans were reportedly imposed on Morsi, Mohammed Badie and Khairat al-Shater over their involvement in prison escapes in 2011.177 The official spokesman of the armed forces, Colonel Ahmed Ali, said on his facebook page, “Our army is seeking to secure all Egyptians, regardless of their affiliations.”178

3.1.6 3 July 2013: Al-Sisi’s speech

130]  On the evening of 3 July 2013, several hours after the army’s ultimatum to President Morsi to solve the political crisis had passed without agreement, a coalition led by Defence Minister and chief of the armed forces, Lieutenant-General Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi announced the agreed future roadmap,

“containing initial measures which ensures the construction of a strong and coherent Egyptian society which does not exclude any of its members and trends, and which ends the state of conflict and division.”179

131]  Al-Sisi emphasized that the roadmap had been agreed during a meeting with, “some figures representing political, national, religious, and youth forces without excluding any party.”180 As discussed above, the Freedom and Justice Party had refused to attend.

132]  To demonstrate the collaborative nature of the roadmap, during the televised address to the Egyptian nation, al-Sisi was accompanied by Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Pope Tawadros II of Egypt’s Coptic Church, Mohamed el-Baradei, representative of the 30 June Coalition and the National Salvation Front, Younes Makhyoun, chairman of the Salafi Al-Nour party and crucial partner in the Muslim Brotherhood’s November 2012 Constitution,181 and Mahmoud Badr and Mohamed Abdel Aziz, representatives from the Tamarod campaign.182

133]  During the speech, al-Sisi reiterated that the armed forces were, are and would remain, “distant from political action.” The Egyptian people had called on the army “to come to their support” and to protect “the demands of their revolution” rather than “to assume power.” In responding to this call, the armed forces have invoked their, “patriotic, and not political, role.”183

134]  He emphasized that the armed forces had gone to,

“tremendous efforts over the past few months…to contain the domestic situation and conduct national reconciliation comprising all the political forces, including the presidential institution.”184

135]  Al-Sisi recalled that in November 2012, the armed forces had called for a national dialogue to which all the national and political forces had responded, but that had been rejected by the presidency at the last moment. He referred to subsequent calls and initiatives put forward by the armed forces, including domestic and foreign strategic assessments addressing the most pivotal challenges and dangers facing the homeland on the economic, security, political, and social levels and on, “how to confront the challenges and dangers in order to end the current crisis.” He mentioned the meeting between the General Command of the Armed Forces and the President of the Republic on 22 June 2013, where the armed forces had rejected the harming of the state’s national and religious institutions and attempts to intimidate or threaten the Egyptian people.185

136]  Al-Sisi said that there had been, “hope that national accord would be achieved to delineate a roadmap and to give the people a sense of trust and reassurance, in addition to stability, in a way that secures their hopes and aspirations”186 but that, “the speech which the president made before the expiry of the 48-hour deadline failed to meet the overall demands of the people.187  As a result it had been necessary for a coalition of political, national, religious and youth forces and the army to agree a roadmap to end “the state of conflict and division.”

137]  Al-Sisi announced that the roadmap would include:

i.  temporary suspension of the constitution;

ii.  empowering the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court to run the country until a new president is elected via early presidential elections;

iii.  forming a new technocratic government;

iv.  asking the Supreme Constitutional Court to hasten passing the parliamentary elections law, currently under review, to allow for parliamentary  elections;

v.  forming a committee to amend controversial articles of the temporarily suspended constitution;

vi.  laying down a media code of ethics to guarantee the media’s professionalism;

vii.  forming a committee to foster “national reconciliation”;

viii.  taking immediate steps to include youth in decision making circles.188

138]  Al-Sisi concluded by calling on the Egyptian people to remain peaceful and avoid violence, and warned that in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, and in accordance with the law, they would stand firmly and decisively against any act deviating from peacefulness.189

139]  After the announcement the grand sheikh of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and leading opposition figure Mohamed el-Baradei and leading representative of Tamarod, Mahmoud Badr made brief supportive statements. Galal Morra, Secretary General of the Salafi Nour party also broadcast a statement supporting the roadmap.

140]  Ahmed el-Tayeb said, “We hope that the opposing sides can come together and mend fences.”190

141]  Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawdros II, who had tweeted his support for “the Egyptian people recovering their stolen revolution” on 2 July 2013,191 blessed al-Sisi’s announcement, saying, “[t]his roadmap has been drafted by honourable people who seek the interests, first and foremost, of the country”,192 and that “all [had] gathered under the Egyptian flag.”193

142]  Mohamed el-Baradei said, “I hope that this plan will be a starting point for a new beginning for the January 25 revolution”194 and called for “social justice for every single Egyptian.”195 He said the Egyptian streets had paid a high price for a hopeful political future.196

143]  Mahmoud Badr called, “for all political parties to come and start a dialogue [… ] we don’t want to exclude anyone.”197

144]  Galal Morra, Secretary General of the Salafi Al-Nour party said, in a television interview that, “we took this position and we took these decision only so we stop the bloodshed of our people.”198

3.1.7 Coalition Roadmap

145]  Prior to al-Sisi’s announcement of the coalition roadmap for a transitional period in Egypt following Morsi’s departure on 3 July 2013, details of roadmaps proposed by Tamarod, the army had been released, alongside roadmaps from the Strong Egypt Party,199 the April 6 Youth Movement,200 the Revolutionary Socialists,201 the Alliance of Revolutionary Forces,202 the Salafi Al-Nour Party and the Salafist Call.203

146]  The differences between the roadmap reportedly proposed by the army and the roadmap that al-Sisi announced on the evening of 3 July 2013 further evidences the collaboration, negotiations and consultations that occurred between Tamarod, the National Salvation Front, the Salafi Al-Nour party and the army in the presence of the grand sheikh of the Al-Azhar and the Coptic Pope during the day of 3 July 2013.

147]  Tamarod had initially announced details of a transitional roadmap on 10 June 2013 that proposed, “during the transitional period, the chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court would become acting president and a coalition cabinet would be formed to include all the national political movements.204” Further details were announced on 26 June 2013205 and the National Salvation Front had endorsed it.206

148]  On 3 July 2013, Tamarod published its roadmap via its Twitter account. It called for: (i) a new temporary president and prime minister, the election of a constitutional council within 30 days (ii) a new constitution to be drafted within 90 days; (iii) a referendum on the constitution within 15 days of its drafting; and (iv) presidential elections within 60 days of an agreed constitution.207 It said that it rejected other roadmaps being put forward.208

149]  The army’s roadmap was said to plan to: (i) suspend the constitution; (ii) dissolve the parliament; (iii) install a interim council comprised of civilian from different political groups and technocrats to run the country until an amended constitution was drafted; (iv) hold new presidential elections and parliamentary elections once strict conditions for selecting candidates were in force.209

150]  The Salafist Watan Party’s national reconciliation initiative, which was supported by 9 political parties and 12 Islamist-leaning movements, including the Freedom and Justice Party and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya’s Building and Development Party had also been released,210 and was reportedly discussed in the meeting between Morsi, al-Sisi and Prime Minister Qandil on 2 July 2013.211 The initiative proposed forming a national unity government, a popular committee for transparency of elections and a body for constitutional amendments.

151]  The roadmap that al-Sisi announced on the evening of 3 July 2013, with the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court to be empowered to run the country, indicates the importance of the meetings on 3 July 2013 in deciding the course of events, after the negotiations with Morsi had not only failed, but he had made an uncompromising and what was perceived to be a threatening speech. In particular, the roadmap indicates the influence of Tamarod’s refusal to accept a solution other than Morsi’s resignation and new presidential elections.

3.1.8 3 July 2013: Legitimacy

152]  During Morsi’s speech at midnight on 2 July 2013 he repeated the word “legitimacy” a large number of times.212 Morsi had originally promised on 29 June 2012 to respect, “the will of the people” which he regarded to be, “the source of power and legitimacy,” that “grants and withdraws power” and that “no authority is over or above this power.”213 However, during his speech on 2 July 2013, Morsi linked legitimacy with the presidential elections and the constitution. He did not acknowledge the size of the protests on the streets and warned that “legitimacy” was the only guarantee “to ensure there will be no violence.”214

153]  Morsi’s claim to “legitimacy” as head of state should be further challenged as he had overstepped the bounds of his authority and unconstitutionally placed himself above the law. Morsi had sworn, in his oath of office, to “preserve the republican order and to respect the constitution and law, and completely care for the people’s interest.”215 However, Morsi had taken upon himself both executive and legislative powers, and had declared that his decisions were not subject to judicial review, even when their constitutionality was in doubt.

154]  El-Baradei explained further,

“We didn’t have a parliament. We only had a president who may have been elected democratically but who governed autocratically and violated the spirit of democracy. Morsi had targeted the judiciary, pressured the media and hollowed out rights for women and religious minorities. He abused his office to put his Muslim Brothers in key positions. He stepped on all universal values. And he drove his country into economic ruin.”216

155]  This view was echoed in a statement by the United States House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee on Egypt released in response to on-going events in Egypt,

“What the Brotherhood neglected to understand is that democracy means more than simply holding elections. Real democracy requires inclusiveness, compromise, respect for human and minority rights, and a commitment to the rule of law.”217

156]  However, although a head of state can usually be impeached for treason and other serious criminal offences and for breaching the constitution, there was no mechanism in place by which Morsi could be constitutionally removed. As el-Baradei said, “We did not have a recall process. People ask[ed] for the recall process with their feet in Tahrir Square.”218

157]  In November 2012, at the time of the controversial constitutional decree, Egypt’s Constitutional Court had reportedly considered the possibility of impeaching Morsi for violating his oath and undermining the country’s constitutional foundations as the constitution had been suspended in March 2011, and the new constitution was still being debated.219

158]  In July 2013, Article 152 of the 2012 constitution provided for an impeachment process following the commission of a felony or treason. A President of the Republic could be removed from office following a motion supported by two thirds of the members of the House of Representatives and a subsequent trial before a special court.220 However, a House of Representatives had not been elected. The Supreme Constitutional Court had dissolved the People’s Assembly prior to Morsi’s election on the grounds that the parliamentary election law was unconstitutional.221

159]  In the absence of an impeachment procedure, legitimacy could only be reclaimed by popular democracy in the street, demanding new presidential elections or calling for the military to depose the president. As Bassiouni has said,

“revolutions are the ultimate resort to achieve by means of popular protests and sometimes by force what a lawful, constitutional and legal process failed to achieve.”222

160]  El-Baradei explained, during an interview on 8 July 2013,

“we had no other choice […] [m]ore than 20 million people took to the streets because the situation was no longer acceptable. Without Morsi’s removal from office, we would have been headed toward a fascist state, or there would have been a civil war.”223

161]  Between 2 and 3 July 2013, when it became apparent that Morsi would not step down voluntarily, as called for by the millions supporting the Tamarod campaign, a coalition led by the army intervened in support of the popular demand that Morsi be deposed.224 As Amira Nowaira, Professor at Alexandria University, wrote,

“Without the presence of those millions on the streets and the determination to get rid of Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, the military would certainly not have intervened. The army acted on a clear popular mandate, as was the case with the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.”225

3.1.9 3 July 2013: Morsi after al-Sisi’s speech

162]  Immediately following al-Sisi’s announcement, Morsi attempted to assert his authority in a response posted on Facebook, in which he labelled the announcement a “military coup” and “call[ed] on the entire population… to abide by the constitution and the laws” and “to avoid shedding blood.”226

163]  Responses were also posted on Twitter, and YouTube, although both were subsequently removed,227 and an audio was played over loudspeaker to his supporters rallying in the Nasr City neighbourhood. Morsi stressed his “legitimacy” and that there was “no alternative to legitimacy.”

164]  Shortly after Morsi was removed from power, arrest warrants were issued for other senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood.228 Saad El-Katatni, head of the Freedom and Justice Party and Rashad Bayoumi, group’s deputy supreme guide were arrested.229 There were reports that Mohamed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood had also been arrested,230 but it later emerged that these reports were inaccurate, and on 5 July 2013 he addressed a rally in Nasr City saying, “We will sacrifice ourselves, our souls and our blood for President Morsi.”231

165]  El-Baradei said that he had been reassured that there had been no arbitrary arrests and that the numbers of arrests had been greatly exaggerated.232 He said that Egypt was deeply divided and national reconciliation was required, and that he hoped the Muslim Brotherhood would participate in the next round of talks. “Being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood is no crime.”233

3.1.10 3 July 2013: Media

166]  Shortly after the military statement announcing the end of Morsi’s presidency the Muslim Brotherhood-owned television channel Misr 25 went off air along with several other Islamist-run channels, including the Hafez and Al-Nas.234

167]  During al-Sisi’s announcement he had called on the Egyptian people to remain peaceful and avoid violence, and warned that in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, and in accordance with the law, they would stand firmly and decisively against any act deviating from peacefulness. 235

168]  During the 30 June 2013 mass protests, the channels had been opposed to anti-government demonstrations, and to the ultimatum announced by the armed forces to “political entities” to end the division in the country. The channels repeatedly hosted high profile Islamic preachers who used religious rhetoric to denounce the protests and support Morsi.236

169]  El-Baradei explained,

“The Islamist tv stations were closed because they were fomenting unrest with their fatwas.237” The Islamist satellite networks that were shut down “have been calling for vengeance and murder and incitement to kill, so they have to shut them down for a while.” In some raided stations “there were weapons.238” “The security people obviously are worried – there was an earthquake and we have to make sure that the tremors are predicted and controlled.239” “They are taking some precautionary measures to avoid violence.”240

170]  This explanation was echoed by Khaled Dawoud, spokesman for the National Salvation Front, who said that, “these are exceptional circumstances” and that they were “trying to incite supporters to go and fight.”  241

3.1.11 3 July 2013: Responses to al-Sisi’s announcement 

171]  Al-Sisi’s announcement was met with massive celebrations in Tahrir Square and the Ittihadiya presidential palace, with fireworks, flag waving, horns blasting and dancing.242

172]  The April 6 Youth Movement said, “Today the demands of the people have been met…the statement of the armed forces coincided with the demands of the people, and the proposal of the political forces and that of April 6, which it had put forward in July.” It called on people to maintain peacefulness and avoid any bloodshed or incitement.243

173]  The Interior Ministry released a statement saying that the roadmap fulfils, “the people’s will and their interests” and stressed that the police stand by the armed forces in efforts to achieve the country’s security and stability.244

174]  Tamarod reiterated the army’s warning against any possible killing of civilians saying that anyone caught involved would stand trial and would be held accountable by the people.245

175]  In contrast, the Muslim Brotherhood website, Ikhwan Online, denounced the announcement as a, “conspiracy against legitimacy, a military coup that wastes popular will and brings Egypt back to despotism.” It announced that, “millions in many squares have started a sit-in in support of legitimacy.”246

176]  Violence was reported in Marsa Matrouh, Kafr El-Sheikh and Assiut.247

3.2 Transitional Government

177]  On 4 July 2013, Adly Mansour was declared temporary President pursuant to the collective agreement of the attendants of the emergency meeting of 3 July 2013,248 and in accordance with Part 5, Chapter 1, Article 84 of the 1971 Constitution.249 The 2012 Constitution had been suspended by the collective agreement on 3 July 2013,250 and there had been issues as to its legitimacy. Despite being approved in a public referendum in December 2012, the Supreme Constitutional Court had ruled its drafting committee unconstitutional on 6 February 2013.

178]  On his appointment Adly Mansour sent a message of reconciliation to the Muslim Brotherhood and spoke of the need for inclusivity and integration,251 aims that were reflected both in his appointments and in his Constitutional Declaration on 8 July 2013.

179]  In Adly Mansour’s first speech he described Tamarod as, “an embodiment of [the nation’s] hopes and ambitions. It was never a movement seeking to realize special demands or personal interests.252” Moreover, during his first interview he explained that all parties would need to mobilize to build the nation. The Muslim Brotherhood is “invited to integrate into this nation and be a part of it […] [i]f they answer the call they will be welcomed.”253

180]  As el-Baradei said in an interview on 4 July 2013, the coalition were, “sending a message of reconciliation and an inclusive approach […] [t]he Muslim Brotherhood should be welcomed back to participate in parliamentary elections and the political process.”254

181]  However, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party rejected Adly Mansour’s overtures and called for continued protests until Morsi was restored.

182]  In terms of Adly Mansour’s appointments, compromises to achieve inclusivity and integration are most obviously demonstrated by negotiations with the members of the coalition over el-Baradei’s appointment. Initial reports indicated that el-Baradei would be appointed Prime Minister, but due to objections that he was too secular by the Salafist Nour party, that appointment was delayed,255 and Hazem al-Biblawi was eventually appointed as Prime Minister by the Temporary President on 9 July 2013.256 El-Baradei was appointed temporary Vice President for Foreign Relations, and sworn in on 14 July 2013 by order of the temporary President.257

183]  A further attempt at integration was made by Prime Minister Hazem al-Biblawi who said he could offer cabinet posts to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. However, the Freedom and Justice Party rejected the offer.258

184]  On 5 July 2013 Adly Mansour issued a Constitutional Declaration dissolving the Shura Council259 and on 8 July 2013 he issued a Constitutional Declaration which set out the system of State during the transitional period and a timeline for amending the 2012 constitution and conducting elections.260

185]  The principles contained within the thirty-three articles suggest the coalition that announced Morsi’s departure was involved in its drafting, and indicate an inclusive approach.

186]  Article 2, for example, reiterated the justification for Morsi’s removal, stating that, “sovereignty is for the people, and the people practice this sovereignty and protect it. The people are the source of all authorities.”

187]  Article 1 appears to be influenced by the Salafists concerns, emphasising the importance of the Sunni canons. It expanded the 1971 constitution, amended in 1980 that stated, “the principles of Islamic sharia are the primary source of legislation” to “the principles of Islamic Sharia, which include its overall evidences and jurisprudence rules and established sources in the Sunni canons, is the main source of legislation.”

188]  The army’s concerns also appear to be addressed. Article 21 confirms the armed forces are owned by the people and are the sole protector of the nation, and Article 23 does not define the President as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, unlike Article 146 of the 2012 constitution.

189]  The constitution also attempts to address concerns of the liberals. Article 4 declares all citizens equal under the law regardless of “origin, type, language, religion, or creed,” Article 6 states that no citizen may be “arrested, searched, detained, or restricted in movement or freedom” except the case of being caught red-handed or with a warrant from a judge or the state prosecutor. Article 8 protected the freedom of the press, removing the 2012 Constitution’s “Parliamentary Press Committee” that would have been given the right to monitor the press and regulate which organisations can and cannot publish.

190]  The Constitutional Declaration’s timetable for the country’s normalisation suggests it was intended to show that democracy was in the making and that the military was not interested in seizing the reins of power.261

191]  The timetable stated that within 15 days from the issuance of the Declaration, a technocratic committee would be appointed to draft amendments to the suspended Constitution of 2012 and to draw upon the Constitution of 1971. The text would be submitted within 30 days to a 50-member committee comprised of representatives from different segments of society, for discussion and amendment. A public referendum would take place within 30 days of the completion of their work. 15 days after the referendum, parliamentary (legislative) elections would be announced and would take within 2 months. One week after the inaugural session of the new parliament takes place there would be a call for the presidential elections.262

3.3 Closing remarks

192]  The events of 3 July 2013 indicate that a coalition of political and social forces and the army collaborated to remove Morsi, in the name of the popular will, once it became apparent that it would be impossible for political factions to reach consensus by the deadline imposed by the ultimatum, and that further delay risked increased fighting and possible civil war.263

193]  However, despite the temporary President Adly Mansour’s immediate overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood to participate in building the nation,264 the Muslim Brotherhood rejected the offer265 and committed themselves to bringing about Morsi’s return,266 a strategy which became increasingly more desperate and saw increasingly violent clashes on the streets.

4.1) Introduction

194]  On 21 June 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood called for its supporters to organise mass protests as part of pre-emptive measures to counter demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi.

195]  Following the ousting of President Morsi on 3 July 2013, these protests culminated in mass sit-ins held at al-Nadha Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya Square (hereinafter “Rabaa Square”).

196]  With pro-Morsi protesters refusing to negotiate or disperse, Egypt saw violent clashes erupt on a daily basis. By 26 July 2013 it was estimated that violent confrontations between the Muslim Brotherhood and the security forces had resulted in an estimated 250 deaths and 2800 injuries.267

197]  By 14 August 2013, the police force had received thousands of complaints from local residents in Cairo, reporting the alleged commission of serious crimes by pro-Morsi protesters, including murder, torture and kidnapping.

198]  Lasting over forty days, the mass sit-ins at the two camps became a direct and legitimate threat to the security of Egypt. As Egyptian authorities exercised all efforts to secure peaceful resolution to the protests, it became clear that the security forces would need to disperse the camps.

199]  This dispersal took place on 14 August 2013, and resulted in the death of hundreds. The context of this dispersal is set out below.

4.2 Provocation of security forces

4.2.1 Inciting violence

200]  For many Egyptians, the ousting of President Morsi and the installation of an interim government, represented a new page in Egypt with many abandoning the streets on 3 July 2013.268

201]  However, for the Muslim Brotherhood, their rhetoric for violence and attacks against the “enemies of Islam” escalated,269 with enemies being made of all groups that did not agree with the Muslim Brotherhood.270

202]  Immediately following the appointment of interim President Adly Mansour on 4 July 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood convened a meeting at Rabaa Adawiya mosque for the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood.271 This was followed by a press-conference, in which the Muslim Brotherhood-led coalition called for a day of nationwide protests, which it dubbed as the “Friday of Rage”.272

203]  The protests were scheduled to take place the following day on 5 July 2013, to reject the appointment of an interim government and removal of Mohamed Morsi.  273

204]  At the time, Gehad al-Haddad, a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, stated that the mass rally was, “to take all peaceful steps necessary to bring down this coup.” 274 Moreover, Ahmed Ahref, Media spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, stated that the group was fully committed to peaceful demonstrations and restraint and would not be drawn into violence.275

205]  Both statements were part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s initial attempts to maintain a level of plausible deniability, claiming that it had no control over the “anticoup” offshoots that organized violent attacks against the security forces.276

206]  However, its efforts to do so were soon in vain and by the following day, it was clear that senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood were engaging in speeches inciting violence and jihad against the armed forces.277

207]  For example, at the time of the call for the “Friday of Rage”, Mohamed el-Beltagy stated that Morsi’s overthrow would push groups to violent resistance,288 though not his own, to violent resistance. However, on the day itself, 5 July 2013, another senior Muslim Brotherhood member, Mohamed Badie, told the rally outside Rabaa Square that the Muslim Brotherhood would “sacrifice ourselves, our souls and our blood, for president Morsi.”279 Furthermore, by 8 July 2013, el-Beltagy had threatened that the violence and state of emergency in Sinai would not end until Morsi was returned.280

208]  Moreover, Morsi’s speeches on 2 and 3 July 2013 had threatened violent conflict in the event of an attempt to remove him. He had said, “if the price of protecting legitimacy is my blood, I’m willing to pay it281 and that he was prepared to, “die standing like a tree.”282

209]  Similarly, one of Morsi’s spokesmen had warned that there would be considerable bloodshed,283 whilst Mohamed el-Beltagy, amongst others, had said, “seeking martyrdom” was the only choice.284

210]  As stages were erected in al-Nadha Square and Rabaa Square, other senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood took to publically invoking a promise of martyrdom in return for fighting for the return of Morsi and urging pro-Morsi supporters to remain in the camps at all costs.287 These members included, inter alia, Esam al-Arian, Mohamed Badie, as well as high-profile Islamic militants such as Asem Abdul Maged.288

211]  The speeches were broadcasted over loud speakers throughout both camps.289 Moreover, pro-Morsi supporters took to disseminating the speeches on Muslim Brotherhood-sponsored media stations in an effort to rally its members.290 For example, on 8 July 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood issued the following statement on its Facebook page:

“(The Freedom and Justice Party) call[ed] on the great Egyptian people to rise up against those who want to steal their revolution with tanks and armoured vehicles, even over the dead bodies of the people.”291

212]  The calls for violence continued throughout July 2013 and up until the dispersal of the two camps on 14 August 2013.

213]  For the Muslim Brotherhood, the calls for an uprising would necessarily lead to chaos and instability in the nation and thereby restore political power to the group.292

214]  Consequently, the calls for violence coincided with various attacks made against military and police personnel and infrastructure.

4.2.2 Attacks against security forces

215]  In the knowledge that the international media was focused on Egypt, pro-Morsi protesters attempted to goad the security forces into action, thereby causing further chaos and destruction across the country.293

216]  Their efforts began with organized protests planned to coincide with anti-Morsi supporters.294 Once military or police presence was secured, pro-Morsi protesters launched vicious attacks against security forces.295

217]  These attacks occurred as an immediate response to the appointment of the interim government. For example, on 4 July 2013, pro-Morsi supporters were seen carrying improvised clubs and shields as they guard the main entrances to Rabaa Square,296 with piled stones for use as weapons nearby.294 As protesters marched through the streets in Damanhour and in Beni Suef, some protesters were reported to have stormed the governorate building. Similarly, on the same day, pro-Morsi supporters were reported to have attacked soldiers near Cairo University.297

218]  On 5 July 2013, following the call for the “Friday of Rage”, rival rallies took place across Egypt. In Cairo, pro-Morsi protesters rallied outside Rabaa Mosque, as well as near Al-Azhar, on Salah Salem and on Sixth of October Bridge.298 Rallies were reported in Alminya and Alexandria.299 On that same day, around thousands of pro-Morsi protesters demonstrated outside the Republican Guard Headquarters.300

219]  As they approached the Republican Guard Headquarters, pro-Morsi protesters were verbally warned not to cross the road in front of the building.301 Ignoring this warning, pro-Morsi supporters congregated outside the headquarters of the Republican Guard and began to tear fences down,302 vowing to remain there until Morsi was re-instated.303

220]  This resulted in violent clashes between pro-Morsi protesters and security forces,304 with five reported fatalities.305 An army spokesman confirmed only blank rounds and tear gas were used by the army.306

221]  That same day on 5 July 2013, pro-Morsi protesters marched across the 6th October Bridge to try to enter Tahrir Square, where anti-Morsi protesters were holding mass rallies.307 Chaotic street battles broke out, with combatants using rocks, sticks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails, until armoured vehicles with riot police officers were deployed to restore order.308

222]  Within days of the storming of the Republican Guard Headquarters, on 8 July 2013, violence again broke out around the Republican Guard Headquarters. Armed groups began to attack the perimeters around the Republican Guard Headquarters, with military and police targeted by live ammunition.309

223]  At the same time, pro-Morsi protesters started to climb up the buildings nearby and throw stones, Molotov cocktails, bombs and heavy objects, with reports of shots fired from the rooftops at the military compound.310 The clashes left at least 54 people dead, including 3 members of the security forces.311

224]  On 24 July 2013, pro-Morsi protesters were responsible for an explosion outside a police building in Mansoura, killing one police conscript and injuring 19 officers.312 This was followed by violent clashes between pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi supporters on 26 July 2013 across Cairo and Alexandria.313 As the army sought to restore order and disperse crowds with the use of tear gas,314 it was itself subject to attack from pro-Morsi supporters.315

225]  By 30 July 2013, similar attacks against security forces had erupted across Egypt. Buoyed by the swell of protestors at the camps, clashes broke out in Ismailia on 30 July 2013, with 17 people injured.316 Another attack in Rafah, North Sinai, on 30 July 2013, led to the death of 22-year-old Army conscript Mohamed Mahmoud Ali, killed by a shot to the head. The attack left eight others injured.317

226]  These attacks were not one-off events but rather part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s schematic plan targeting military and police structures. The Ministry of Interior had already announced that it had intercepted phone calls from leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood who had instructed their supporters to stage attacks on police stations.318

227]  In total, 317 police officers were killed by pro-Morsi protestors from the start of the sit-ins.319 Indeed, immediately following the dispersal of the sit-ins on 14 August 2013, heavily armed Muslim Brotherhood protestors stormed a police station in Kerdasa, torturing and killing 14 police officers.320

228]  The calls for violence were not only launched to target security forces. Hate speeches advocating for sectarian violence were rife amongst pro-Morsi protests.321 As the protests swelled in Cairo, Christian sects saw a spike in the number of retaliatory attacks on over eighty churches across the country.322 As a result of such speeches, over 52 churches in Cairo were subject to arson attacks with 12 other churches looted.323 There was also a rise in kidnappings of Coptic Christians with over 140 reported kidnappings between 2011 and 2013.324

4.3 Conditions at al-Nahda Square and Rabaa Square prior to 14 August 2013

4.3.1 Disruption to local residents

229]  As discussed above, following the ousting of Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013, Muslim Brotherhood supporters descended upon al-Nahda Square and Rabaa Square.

230]  Early on, the Muslim Brotherhood had announced their plans to move pro-Morsi protests into provocative spaces such as Tahrir Square, a square synonymous with public demonstrations in Egyptian history.325 However, finding resistance in Tahrir Square, the organization settled on Rabaa Square and al-Nadha Square.

231]  The two squares were by no means a second-rate choice. Indeed both locations were chosen specifically in light of their centralized locality in Cairo. In particular, Rabaa Square occupied a central location in Nasr City, the largest district in Cairo.326

232]  Following mass calls to join the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations, the camps at al-Nahda Square and Rabaa Square fast became the focal point of an orchestrated mass sit-in.

233]  By the third week, the crowds at Rabaa Square had reached thousands, “swelling to tens of thousands when the Brotherhood calls special days like Friday’s ‘day of marching on.’”327 Many of the area’s temporary residents were bused in to Rabaa Square from provinces outside Cairo, receiving payment to occupy the squares.328

234]  The disruptive effect on local residents was immense with many describing the significant effect on their livelihood.329 As the sit-ins continued, pro-Morsi protesters began to occupy the squares on a twenty-four hour basis and soon enough, new infrastructures began to develop within the camps.330

235]  In particular, local residents complained of the imposition of new checkpoints put in place by the Muslim Brotherhood protestors, and to which the local residents were subject to.331 This subjected many residents to unwarranted threats and intimidation in their own neighbourhood, with many seeking temporary refuge elsewhere in the city.332

236]  Other residents complained of the constant noise disruption and blockages of main roads, which occurred for weeks on end.333 In particular, protesters were seen tearing up the concrete pavements in order to create roadblocks.334


Pro-Morsi supporters placed concrete blocks and stones in front of the memorial service and Al-Azhar University gate

237]  This resulted in huge traffic delays for local residents, with one resident describing the harrowing impact this had on his elderly father’s trip to the hospital to seek chemotherapy treatment.335 Moreover, ambulances seeking to assist local residents were hampered in their duties by Muslim Brotherhood protestors.336

238]  As new infrastructures and road blockages were erected, many of the squares’ residents feared the Muslim Brotherhood protestors would become a permanent fixture.337

4.3.2 Violence in the camps

239]  The conditions at Rabaa Square and al-Nadha Square amounted to more than just a nuisance. For ordinary Egyptians living in Cairo, the camp at Rabaa Square, which blocked off major thoroughfares, had become increasingly intimidating and disruptive as daily activities and trips became impossible to carry out.338

240]  The sit-ins fast became a flash-point for bloody confrontations and violence,339 with local residents even forming an “SOS organization” to document the criminal acts of destruction and terror perpetrated by pro-Morsi supporters at Rabaa Square.340

241]  During the forty-day sit-in at the camps, local residents filed hundreds of complaints in relation to criminal activity committed by the Muslim Brotherhood protestors.341 The wide-range of crimes reported including, inter alia: (i) harassment;342 (ii) theft;343 (iii) destruction of public property;344 (iv) arson;345 (v) possession of weapons;346 (vi) kidnapping;347 and (vii) murder and attempted murder.348

242]  Moreover, complaints reporting allegations of torture349 were prolific, with protesters seemingly torturing anyone they suspected of being “an agent or security personnel”, or anyone who expressed their displeasure at the continued existence of the camps.350

243]  For example, on 29 July 2013, an official security source stated that 11 dead bodies were found near the Rabaa Square sit-in with signs of torture.351 Another ten people claimed to have been tortured in the sit-in camp after being accused of being “infiltrators.”352

244]  On 3 August 2013, Abdel Atty, a local resident in Nasr City, reported that he had been tied up in a tent, blindfolded and bundled into a car by pro-Morsi supporters at Rabaa Square, merely because he expressed discontent at their presence.353

245]  At al-Nahda Square, several journalists, amongst others, complained of torture and mistreatment whilst attempting to cover reports on the camp.354 Amnesty International also issued a report with testimonies from local residents indicating that they were captured, beaten, given electric shocks or stabbed by pro-Morsi protestors close to both rallies.355

246]  As a result of these violent outbursts, local residents viewed the mass sit-ins as an incubator for further extreme acts of violence, with many describing them as no more than a “group of terrorists and fascists.”356

247]  Faced with the increased threat to the security of its citizens and the nation, the interim government was compelled to intervene.

4.4 Initial attempts to clear the camps using peaceful means

248]  As the local residents struggled to go about their daily lives, their tolerance of the camps began to wane. By the beginning of August 2013, it became clear that the camps could no longer exist and that the continued protests needed to end. The question was therefore whether the Muslim Brotherhood would voluntarily agree to disband the camps in exchange for political concessions.357

249]  Given the alarming nature of the situation, the interim government had from the outset, begun to engage in negotiations with various political factions, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in an attempt to secure a peaceful resolution.358

250]  On 4 July 2013, Adly Mansour, on being sworn in as temporary President, immediately made overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood, providing,

“The Muslim Brotherhood group is part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation as nobody will be excluded, and if they responded to the invitation, they will be welcomed.”359

251]  However, the Muslim Brotherhood responded, “unequivocally reject[ing] the military coup against the elected President and the popular will, and “refuse[d] to deal with the usurper regime.”360

252]  Despite this cursory response and in the wake of the violent clashes on 8 July 2013, the information available reveals that the interim government remained steadfast in its position to establish a viable political road map in Egypt.361 As confirmed by Gamal Heshmat, an official in the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, a key demand of the interim government was that the Muslim Brotherhood cleared the camps so that further political concessions could be made.362

253]  The efforts of the interim government to secure peace remained unabated in the face of violent attacks against its security forces. On 24 July 2013, following an explosion outside a police station in Mansoura, President Mansour continued to call for reconciliation talks with all sides.363 Despite these efforts, the Muslim Brotherhood refused to attend, pledging instead to maintain a disruptive street presence unless Morsi was reinstalled as president.364

254]  The Muslim Brotherhood’s refusal to cooperate did not mark the end of the interim government’s efforts to restore peace and security amidst the streets of Egypt.

255]  On 5 July 2013, the military had already posted a statement on Facebook, urging Egyptians not to heed any “invitations to gloat or seek revenge.365” Whilst it supported the right to peaceful protest the army warned that violence and civil disobedience acts including the blocking of roads would harm social peace, adding:366

“Freedom of expression is a right that everyone is entitled to, [but] ‘unnecessary’ and ‘excessive’ exercise of this right may, “represent a threat to social peace and national interest and will negatively impact security and economic performance of our precious Egypt.”367

256]  Affirming this position, interim President Mansour issued a public statement in which he stated that the government, “cannot accept security disorder, cutting roads and bridges, attacking public buildings. The state has to impose order by all force and decisiveness.”368 In turn, the Minister of Interior, Mohammed Ibrahim, said local residents had complained about the sit-in protest by Morsi supporters at the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo and that it would be “brought to an end soon and in a legal manner” and had called on protesters “to come to their senses and go home”.369

257]  On 24 July 2013, the National Defence Council convened to discuss the threat to the nation’s security following internal developments. It subsequently issued a decision recognizing the need to protect the right to freedom of expression whilst also protecting the security of the nation.370

258]  On 27 July 2013, the Egyptian Minister of Interior, issued a press statement announcing “the police and the army were working in coordination to discuss a suitable day for dispersing the two pro-Morsi sit-ins, which hold tens of thousands of protesters.”371  In particular, he urged the Muslim Brotherhood to stop its incitement of violence, to reopen blocked roads, and to stop the killing and torture of “suspected spies”.372

259]  Following the issuance of the press statement, the Minister of Interior further convened a meeting with various civil society actors with a view to discuss methods of peacefully ending the protests whilst in the knowledge that some protesters were armed.373

260]  Following the efforts of the Minister of Interior, armed forces arranged for military aircrafts to drop flyers over the two camps on 29 July 2013, stating, “[t]he recent events reveal that the country is being pushed into chaos without regard to murder, violence or halting the means to normal living, which is a matter the army is trying to prevent.”376

261]  The army appealed to protesters not to be pushed into violence or vandalism and urged pro-Morsi supporters to help the army maintain their security.375 The army’s flyer called on everyone to cooperate and respond to its instructions for the stability of the country.376


Army flyer thrown at protesters supporting deposed President Mohamed Mursi in Rabaa al-Adawiya on Monday, July 29, 2013

262]  On 31 July 2013, the office of the Public Prosecutor issued a decision in which he called for police to take all legally required action to disperse crowds at the camps and to investigate perpetrators of crimes alleged to have been committed in the camps.377

263]  In an attempt to further coerce protesters to leave the camps, on 31 July 2013, Egypt’s cabinet issued a warning that it would take “all legal measures necessary to confront acts of terrorism and road-blocking” and announced that it “in preservation of the country’s highest interest”, it had “delegated the interior ministry to proceed with all legal measures to confront acts of terrorism and road-blocking.”378

264]  Tasked with this responsibility, the following day, the Minister of Interior urged protesters to return home, again guaranteeing safe passage, including free transportation to the provinces, for all pro-Morsi supporters in the hope that this would be an efficient and peaceful means to end the camps.379

265]  He repeated the same guarantee on 3 August 2013, wherein he again undertook to provide safe and free passage out of the camp.380 At the same time, this guarantee was widely disseminated in various media outlets and a copy of the Minister’s statement was dropped over the camps by helicopter.381

266]  On 7 August 2013, the Minister of Interior again convened a press conference in which he stated that he was tasked with dispersing camps and his intention to provide yet another opportunity for protesters to voluntarily leave.382

267]  Despite the efforts of the Minister of Interior and warnings from the Cabinet, pro-Morsi supporters continued to ignore all such order.

268]  By 13 August 2013, it became clear that security forces would need to enter the camps the following day in order to secure clearance.

269]  Faced with this task, the Minister of Interior embarked on a last ditch attempt to ensure that pro-Morsi supporters would leave without incident.

270]  First, he met with several representatives from human rights groups to invite them to observe the scheduled dispersal in order to guarantee that international standards would be observed.383

271]  Second, he once again ordered the military to disperse leaflets warning the pro-Morsi supporters to clear the camp with immediate effective.384

272]  Third, he intentionally leaked the date and time of the dispersal to various media outlets in the hope that the occupants of the camps would leave before the scheduled time for dispersal.385

273]  Finally, the Minister of Interior addressed the media and declared that no weapons would be used against the protesters. He provided that only tear gas would be used in order to disperse the crowds and that above all, he wanted to avoid bloodshed.386

274]  The Minister of Interior had exhausted all reasonable efforts to encourage the protesters to return home.

4.5 Barricading the camps

275]  Whilst Egyptian ministers strived to give fair and appropriate warning to pro-Morsi supporters, the protestors were becoming more resilient, arming themselves and fortifying the camps.387

276]  Protestors at Rabaa Square were reported to have built three concrete waist-high barriers, using sandbags, truck tyres and bricks.388 They were also seen pulling up the concrete streets in order to build fortifications across major roads, including across the 12 lanes of Nasr Road leading into to Rabaa Square.389 Local residents recall the area resembling a war zone, complete with trenches and tanks.390


Pro-Morsi protesters place barriers on Nasr road, 28 July 2013

277]  The fortifications were not built as a sole means of protection. Rather, they were used to conceal a web of criminal activity. Behind the fortified walls, footage revealed crates of homemade weapons and armed caches stored by the Muslim Brotherhood in and around the squares.391

NCPR Report EN

278]  Residents reported their gas supplies being siphoned off by protestors and used in the creation of ‘Molotov cocktails’.392

279]  Armed protestors were subsequently able to use the stored weapons in gun openings built into the barricades,393 using them to launch offensives against the police and local residences.394


Sand berms in front of Cairo University, with openings for shooting, 31 July 2013

280]  Indeed, following the dispersal of the camps on 14 August 2013, police reportedly found hundreds of weapons including, inter alia, rifles, machine guns and semi-automatic shotguns as well as homemade weapons such slingshots and metal blades.395

4.6 Overview of the dispersal

281]  Although much has been reported about the dispersal of the camps at Rabaa Square and al-Nadha Square, there are a number of contradictory accounts.

282]  As a result, the following is intended to provide a brief overview of the events on 14 August 2013 at the camps.

4.6.1 Rabaa Square dispersal

283]  Whilst eyewitness accounts vary on details, it is widely reported that at 06:30 security services arrived at the Rabaa camp,396 using loud speakers to call on protesters to leave the camps via clearly designated routes. For the camp at Rabaa Square the exit was located via both the Nasr Street exit and the el-Manasa exit.397

284]  In particular, as shown in the following footage of Rabaa Square, security forces noted that the dispersal was taking place by decree and in full view of the media and international observers and thereby warned against use of violence against security forces.398 Implementation orders provided to the security forces, as well as the size of those participating in the dispersal, were also published to ensure transparency of the operation.399

285]  As protestors ignored the warnings, security forces employed tear gas,400 as well water canons and from fire engines to disperse the crowds.401

286]  Armed with long-range acoustic devices, water and gas vehicles, police forces began to spray the camp with tear gas.402 It is at this point that gunfire is reported to have broken out from within the camp and reportedly, from a building nearby where sixty snipers were subsequently arrested.403

287]  Within 30 minutes of their arrival, police reported that two police officers had been shot resulting in one fatality,404 as other unarmed protestors were caught in the cross-fire between the police and snipers.405 Subsequently, matters quickly escalated at the camp with police and pro-Morsi supporters both engaging in violent clashes.406

4.6.2 Al-Nadha Square dispersal

288]  On 14 August 2013, security forces, including police and military personnel, arrived at the camp al-Nadha Square shortly before 06:00.407 Immediately upon arrival, security officers announced a call for evacuation of the square.408

289]  As with the dispersal at Rabaa Square, designated exits were clearly announced to all protestors,409 with the identified safe exit located at al-Gama’a Square towards Giza Square.410

290]  Whilst some protesters began to leave, by 06:20 shots were being fired at police officers from within the camps.411 Subsequently, various tents were set alight.412

291]  As part of this chaos, police officers were then fired at from snipers located within the nearby Faculty of Engineering building.413 Security forces subsequently exchanged shots as violence descended throughout the square.414

292]  The attack on police forces on 14 August 2013 was clearly pre-arranged. As protestors gathered and stored weapons in the camps for days on end, the opportunity to attack police officers presented itself. Indeed, following the clashes on 14 August 2013, at least 200 pro-Morsi protesters at al-Nadha Square and Rabaa Square were arrested for possession of weapons.415

4.7 Use of force by security forces

293]  As detailed above, the interim government had embarked on various efforts to clear the camps and prevent confrontation between security forces and the protesters. As pro-Morsi supporters defiantly flooded into the two camps, it prompted police to postpone plans to move into the squares as officials feared the possibility of causalities.416

294]  However, as conditions in and around the camps invariably worsened and the threat to security heightened, it became apparent that police authorities would need to enter the camp in order to end the continued stand-off.

295]  As a result of the dispersal efforts on 14 August 2013, the Ministry of Health reported 632 casualties,417 including 8 police officers.418

296]  With any major operation between armed protesters and security forces, where causalities are inevitable, investigations into the cause of casualties is standard.

297]  On 21 December 2013, interim President Mansour issued a decree for the establishment of an independent fact finding mission to be headed by Dr. Fouad Abdel-Moneim Riad 419, a former judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. As part of its mandate, the Independent National Commission was tasked with investigating events, which occurred in connection with the ousting of former President Morsi.420

298]  The mission published its findings on 11 March 2014, although it identified the Muslim Brotherhood’s refusal to cooperate with the mission,421 and that, despite its best efforts to contact various members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including prominent figures Dr. Mohamed Ali Bishr and Khairat Shater, it refused to engage with the mission.422

4.8 Conclusion

299]  The Muslim Brotherhood’s response to the ousting of President Morsi was a calculated manoeuvre. By engaging in acts of violence and civil disobedience the Muslim Brotherhood sought to achieve two goals as part of its overall plan to restore its grip on power in Egypt.

300]  First, the Muslim Brotherhood sought to provoke violent clashes with the security forces as part of a deliberate strategy to enhance their martyrdom status, and to increase international attention and secure worldwide sympathy and support.423

301]  Second, the Muslim Brotherhood sought to use violence as a means to disrupt the social and economic fabric in Egypt, in the hope that it would regain power amidst the chaos created.424

302]  To an extent, the Muslim Brotherhood was successful in achieving these two goals. It was able to create havoc and chaos throughout Egypt so much so, that by 26 July 2013, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians staged mass protests in support of an intervention from the army to restore peace and security in the country.425

303]  By 14 August 2013, it became clear that the security forces and interim government had little choice but to restore security and order in Cairo by dispersing the camps. In doing so, it demonstrably took all necessary steps to ensure that any planned dispersal would be the most effective method to avoid bloodshed. In contrast, there is no evidence to suggest that during these plans for dispersal, an order for the use of force against protesters was issued.

5.1) Introduction

304]  As discussed in Chapter 4, Cairo residents were both intimidated and angry at the presence of the protesters in Rabaa Square and al-Nahda Square. Following the barricade of the camps, there was a swell of support for the army to intervene and restore order.426

305]  Moreover, the army was increasingly preoccupied with dealing with the outbreak of terrorist attacks in Sinai and the prolific presence of Ansar Bait al-Maqdis.427 At the same time, the army faced criticism from various human rights groups for failing to protect religious minorities.428

306]  For many, Egypt was now at a cross-road in which it could succumb to extreme Islamist groups such as Da’esh (ISIS) who had a strong-hold in neighbouring Libya and beyond.429

307]  An understanding of the regional landscape at the time provides an insight into the climate of fear in which average Egyptians saw themselves and the pressing need for military intervention.

5.2 Understanding Egypt in the Context of Libya and Syria 

308]  Egypt, Libya and Syria have traditionally held historical relations. This is best exemplified by the Constitution of the Federation of Arab Republics, agreed to by all three nations in 1971 in recognition of the shared “common Arab fate”.430 Although the constitution did not enjoy longevity, it does indicate the need for an understanding of the common challenges faced by all three states in the regional and international arenas.431

309]  The 2011 Revolution in Egypt took place during a period in which multiple countries in the Arab region witnessed large popular protests calling for reform. In limited cases these protests were successful, such as in the ousting of President Ben Ali in Tunisia.

310]  However, for the most part, the so-called Arab Spring was far from a success and, in particular for Libya and Syria, resulted in drawn out bloody conflicts, which continue to this day.

311]  The developments in 2012 and 2013 in Egypt must be understood in the context of the tragic trajectories of the conflicts in Libya and Syria.

5.3 The Early Developments of the Conflicts in Libya and Syria 

5.3.1 The Early Development of the Conflict in Libya

312]  Mass uprisings in Libya began on 15 February 2011 in the city of Benghazi,432 when anti-government protests evolved into violent attacks on government buildings and security officials, which then turned into full civil war.

313]  The demonstrations had allegedly begun following the arrest of a lawyer representing the relatives of prisoners killed in 1996 in the Abu Salim Prison.433 Reminiscent of the language adopted by pro-Morsi supporters on 4 July 2013, the Libyan opposition protesters called for a  ‘day of rage’,434 which was characterised by reports of the lynching of security officials and the torching of municipal buildings.435 Subsequently, senior Libyan government officials conceded that ‘protestors’ had seized control of military bases, weapons, and tanks.436

314]  The fact that the insurrection sprung up in eastern Libya was no coincidence. As leaked cables from the US Embassy in Tripoli document, eastern Libya was “a locus of extremist activity” over which Libyan government security services had little control.437 The cable details the mass participation of eastern Libyans in insurgency operations in Libya and Iraq.

315]  The surge of Libyan recruits travelling to Iraq in 2007 and 2008 to fight the US Occupation has been attributed to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).438 The LIFG was founded by veterans (‘mujahideen’) of the war in Afghanistan,439 and created to fight an ultimately unsuccessful guerrilla insurgency in the 1990s against the Libyan government.440 In a programme overseen by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi,441 hundreds of LIFG militants were rehabilitated and released from prison in 2008,442 2009 and 2010 after renouncing political violence and a commitment not to resume extremist activities.443

316]  However in February 2011, in a widely anticipated move,444 the released former LIFG members created the Islamic Movement for Change, which joined the insurrection and called for international military intervention.445

317]  The insurrection, with support from Qatar and NATO following  Security Council Resolution 1973,446 turned into a bloody civil war which destroyed the Libyan state and left the country riddled with militias and terrorists.447 head of the LIFG,448 Abdelhakim Belhadj, became the commander of the Tripoli Military Council following the fall of Tripoli, and has reportedly joined ISIS in Libya and is leading its forces.449

318]  Notably, it is reported that the conflict – and the consequent death and destruction – could have been avoided if the Libyan military had been allowed to execute its offensive in February 2011,450 which had been mislabelled as an impending massacre.451

319]  To date, Libya is considered to be a failed state, with weapons pouring out and extremists tumbling in.452 ISIS and other jihadi groups have emerged and taken control over various cities in Libya, including Sirte which holds 80 percent of Libya’s recoverable oil reserves.453 A further fifty percent of territory in Libya is controlled by various militia groups, including Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militant group.454


BBC depiction of Libya’s rival power bases455

5.3.2 The Early Development of the Conflict in Syria 

320]  The conflict in Syria began in January 2011 in the southern city of Daraa when anti-government protestors clashed with police,456 claiming the lives of seven police and four protestors.457  By March 2011, the protests grew both in Daraa and across the country,458 government buildings were torched,459 and masked gunmen were filmed firing on police and protestors.462463 As a result, the Syrian government expanded the use of deadly force to break up the protests.464

321]  Shortly after, opposition groups – including the Syrian Muslim Brotherhoodcalled 465 for the ousting of President al-Assad,466 and later for military intervention to accomplish this.467 In addition to masked gunmen at protests, the Syrian military was now also engaged in large-scale battles with rebels, resulting in hundreds of casualties.468

322]  However, the presence of non-State armed groups in Syria, including radical Islamists groups, had long pre-dated the 2011 protests.

323]  Confidential cables from the US Embassy in Damascus reveal a range of incidents:

i.  Shoot-outs between security forces and an armed group associated with al-Qai’da in southern Syria, near Daraa, in 2005;469

ii. Bombings of a Syrian government facility by Fatah al-Islam in 2008;470

iii. Dismissals of Sheikhs from positions in charitable Islamic groups on suspicion of terrorist funding;471

iv. Syria was considered the entry point for “nearly 90% of foreign terrorists (many of which transited through Egypt to get to Syria468) in Iraq” in 2007,469 and was the operating base for the Abu Ghadiya network that orchestrated the flow of fighters, money, and weapons into Iraq;472

v. Uprisings of Islamists extremist prisoners inside Seidnaya prison in 2008;473

vi. Cooperation between the Syrian and Iraqi governments on addressing the cross-border problems of (Sunni) armed extremists in 2009.474

324]  Once the protests in Syria had turned into an armed conflict, Syrian rebels were in direct contact with apparent Islamist victors in Libya.475 Within months both foreign fighters476 – including members of al-Qai’da – and weapons were flowing from Libya to Syria, using the established transnational links (the so called ‘rat line477) between Islamist extremists.478

325]  Like Libya, Syria remains in conflict acting as a battleground for ISIS militants.479 In June 2014, former UN Convoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, predicted that Syria would become a failed state and that the conflict would “blow up” and spread beyond Syria’s borders.

5.4 Spill over into Egypt

326]  Given the existence of transnational networks of Islamist extremist fighters, the developments in Libya and Syria warranted a legitimate fear of spill over of fighters and weapons into Egypt.480

327]  For example, even in the so-called success state of the Arab Spring, Tunisia has had to deal with its own share of difficulties as a result of the conflicts in Libya and Syria. For example, reports have shown that militants returning home from the conflict in Syria have attempted to blow-up various tourist hotspots.481 The Tunisian government has further dismantled a recruiting cell sending fighters to Libya.482

328]  By comparison, concerns regarding the movement of arms and militants are further compounded in Egypt, by the fact that it shares a 1,115km long border with Libya.483 This is a porous border whereby militant groups can easily transport weapons and fighters across from Libya into Egypt.484

329]  The threat of a spill over from Libya and Syria to Egypt was very much real in 2013 and onwards. As a result of the power vacuum and excess of arms on the streets of Libya, many weapons have been funnelled to terrorist organisations in Sinai.485  For instance, in early 2014, a surface-to-air missile obtained from Libya was used by militants to bring down an Egyptian military helicopter in Sinai.486

330]  Egyptian security reports have also indicated that a number of jihadists and extremists involved in violence in Cairo were caught trying to escape to Libya.487 Furthermore, Muhammed Jamal, leader of the UN-designated terrorist group Muhammad Jamal Network, was arrested in Egypt having established jihadist training camps in Libya.488

331]  Similarly, as of December 2013, between 100 and 500 Egyptians had reportedly travelled to Syria to join militant groups including ISIS and Al-Nusra Front,489 with many arrested on terrorist charges upon their return to Egypt.490

332]  As a result, Egypt has undertaken a number of measures to secure stability within its borders. This has included various initiatives to assist Libya to control its borders and efforts to establish an international fund tasked with the collection and storage of weapons in Libya in coordination with the UN and Libya.491 With regard to Syria, it has implemented various policies to restrict the movement of Syrians into Egypt.492

5.5 Conclusion

333]  The conflicts in Syria and Libya have proven to be a security nightmare across the globe.493 Moreover, it has cost both countries billions in profit and revenue, with unprecedented increase in unemployment levels.494  For over four years, Egypt has not had to look far to be reminded of the precarious nature of peace and the impending growth of terrorist activity.

334]  At the time of the second revolution in 2013, Egyptians were increasingly discontent with Morsi’s handling of the moribund economy, fuel and food shortages, and lack of political opportunity.495

335]  Initially the army was reluctant to intervene and as of at least May 2013, failed to show any willingness to steer the country.496 However, as described in this report, the discontent quickly manifested itself into a demand for the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government followed by violent clashes throughout the nation.

336]  Reminded of the ill-fortune befallen in Syria, and in particular, Libya, it was clear that order had to be restored in a country which is twice the size of its neighbour and to prevent the onslaught of bloody civil war and terrorist insurgency.

6.1) The Impasse and People’s Revolution of 2013

337]  Events in Egypt between late 2012 and the first half of 2013 plunged the country into an economic, political and social crisis.

338]  The ever-growing discontent with the Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government brought Egyptians back onto the streets as they had during the Revolution in 2011. In 2011 it was Mubarak who felt the ire of the disillusioned and frustrated masses. In June 2013, it was Morsi’s turn.

339]  In his refusal to compromise, Morsi worsened the crisis bringing about emergence of the Tamarod movement with the goal to bring about new presidential elections and relieve the country of an economic mess and the government’s unpopular policy of blanket Islamification across all aspects of Egyptian life.

340]  The demonstration that followed on 30 June 2013 has been described as the biggest in the history of Egypt.497 Tamarod issued a statement on 1 July 2013 giving Morsi until 5 pm on 2 July to leave and pave the way for early presidential elections, failing which it would bring the crowds back out, march on more palaces and launch a campaign of “complete civil disobedience”.498

341]  Tamarod warned that the protests could drag the country into civil war and called on the military and the police to clearly state their support for the protesters.499 In response, Defence Minister al-Sisi, acting as part of a broad coalition (discussed in Chapters 2 and 3) issued a statement, calling on all political factions to reach consensus and that a proposed roadmap for the future, “if the demands of the people are not realized” within 48 hours, would be implemented.

342]  The response of Morsi to both the mass demonstrations and the army’s ultimatum was a midnight speech which was immediately interpreted by many as a coded message to Muslim Brotherhood activists to ‘unleash war’ on their fellow Egyptians as “enemies of the true faith” and thus as incitement to violence.500

343]  On the evening of 3 July 2013, several hours after the coalition’s ultimatum to Morsi to solve the political crisis had passed without agreement, al-Sisi announced the agreed roadmap to end “the state of conflict and division”, the establishment of an interim government and clearing the way for new elections as soon as possible.

344]  Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members, many armed with clubs and helmets, had been camped in front of Raba’a al-Adaweya Mosque in anticipation of a battle to defend Morsi.501 Street battles had occurred between pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi,502 and on 3 July 2013 tanks and soldiers were deployed to separate the pro- and anti-Morsi protesters, in anticipation of further unrest.503

345]  As discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 of this report, the events leading up to 3 July 2013 reflect that an impromptu coalition of political and social forces and the army collaborated to meet the demands of the Egyptian people to remove Morsi once it became apparent that, despite efforts, the Muslim Brotherhood government would not concede any power, and that further delay risked increased fighting and possible civil war.504

6.2 Transition from Revolution to Stability

346]  On the evening of 3 July 2013, the coalition, led by Defence Minister al-Sisi, announced the agreed roadmap to end “the state of conflict and division” and detailing the transition to new elections (see Chapter 3).

347]  On 4 July 2013 Adli Mansour, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, was sworn in as interim president.

348]  On 8 July 2013 interim President Mansour issued a constitutional declaration consisting of 33 articles, detailing the ‘roadmap’ to ensure an orderly transition to a new, elected government.505 The constitutional declaration detailed the process by which a referendum on an amended constitution as well as parliamentary and presidential elections would take place.

349]  The amended constitution was subsequently approved by 98.1% of voters in a referendum in January 2014.506 Those international actors monitoring the referendum confirmed the official results were legitimate and resulted from fair and transparent elections.507

350]  In the presidential elections of May 2014, Defence Minister and former army chief al-Sisi won in a landslide, receiving 96.9% of the votes with a 47.5% turnout.508

6.3 Restoring Security and Order in the Streets of Cairo

351]  While for most Egyptians, the ousting of Morsi and the roadmap for new elections represented a new chapter for Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood escalated their calls for violence and attacks against the “enemies of Islam”,509 with enemies being made of all groups that did not agree with the Muslim Brotherhood.510

352]  The Muslim Brotherhood chose the stage for their fight for the return of Morsi in central Cairo, through mass sit-ins held at al-Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya Square (hereinafter “Rabaa Square”).

353]  As the mass sit-ins continued throughout July and into August, the two camps became a direct threat to the safety of the local residents in Cairo specifically and the security of Egypt generally.

354]  Chapter 4 made clear the numerous attempts by Egyptian authorities to use all efforts to secure a peaceful resolution to the protests. However, it became obvious that the security forces would need to disperse the camps to prevent further violence and restore a measure of normalcy and calm to the nation, which had effectively been paralysed by the sit-ins.

355]  In the legitimate attempts to disperse the camps the security services demonstrably took all necessary steps to ensure that any planned dispersal would be the most effective method to avoid bloodshed.  Importantly, this report highlights the fact that there is no evidence, despite reports to the contrary, to suggest that in effecting the plans for dispersal there was an underlying plan or strategy to use deadly force against protesters.

356]  What happened in mid-August 2013 was chaotic. It involved many protestors who were armed and aggressive. There were casualties and mistakes were made during the chaos that ensued. And those responsible, on both sides, must be held to account for any unlawful or disproportionate use of force.

357]  There was however no indication of any design or plan to use force until such became necessary for the security of civilians and even then the planned action was measured and restrained. Chapters 3 and 4 highlight the fact that safe exit passages were created for protestors to leave peacefully after negotiations failed.

358]  In taking the actions that it did – participating in the removal of Morsi and dispersing the camps in Cairo – the security services played their role in protecting Egypt against the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood – a threat which carried with it a promise of violence and possible civil war.

Egypt Presents The Evidence