Military coup divides nation

04 July 2013

While millions celebrate the overthrow of Mohamed Mursi, the future is still uncertain for Egypt

The army intervention that led to the removal of Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi on 3 July was celebrated by millions of anti-government protesters across Egypt. In Cairo, fireworks sounded around Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the protest movement.

After months of mounting frustration with Mursi’s failure to address Egypt’s economic problems and the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, many protesters spoke of feeling a sense of relief and optimism.

However, the sense of jubilation among many sections of society stands in stark contrast to the anger felt by many millions of others, who feel that a democratically elected government has been removed from power by a military coup. There are fears that the army’s actions will fuel resentment among Islamist groups and pro-Mursi supporters, deepening further divisions in Egyptian society and leading to fresh outbreaks of violence.

During the Mubarak era, the Muslim Brotherhood complained of being marginalised by the ruling regime, and many will feel the clocks have been turned back.

Reports that the Muslim Brotherhood’s TV stations were shut down during the army’s intervention and that hundreds of Brotherhood members are to be arrested is likely to further stoke anger. This could tip over into clashes between different factions of society, if the transition of power is not handled carefully.

Egypt also faces huge economic challenges. Its deficit is growing and the country has few means left to raise revenues. The new interim president will face the same macro-economic problems as Mursi and will need to put in place a strong economic plan relatively soon.

For the moment, interim president, Chief Justice Adly Mansour, seems to have the backing of the majority of Egyptians, even if he is not democratically elected. But as the events of the past week have proven nothing is certain in Egypt.

Read more on the overthrow of Mohamed Mursi in MEED’s Egypt in crisis section

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