The government of Egypt has extended the state of emergency. The new measure was announced 10AM ET Thursday and will be extended two months.
The law was put into action roughly a month ago as a means to a handle on the situation in Cairo and following violent clashes, protests, and the tearing down of pro-Morsi camps.
In a phone interview, presidential spokesman Ihab Bedawi told CBS, “In light of the security situation and after the acceptance of the government, it has been decided to extend for two months. The reason behind it is the latest terrorist activities.”
Since the fallout, the violence and protests have spread beyond Cairo, subjecting those citizens to the curfew as well. Bedawi said that to lift the curfew would come only after checking with security forces and assessing the situation.
In addition to the state of emergency and nighttime curfew, the government has utilized tanks, armored forces, and even shut down media sources that speak out against the government’s actions.
The interim government has pointed out that they’re using the measures to combat terrorism. Earlier in the month, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim escaped an assassination plot that left many injured. Security forces say that this is only the tip of the iceberg as the Muslim Brotherhood and various other Islamist leaning groups have been the driving force between the outbreaks of violence and vandalism.
While hundreds have been killed and wounded in the clashes, the situation has seen security and militants duel regularly in the Northern Sinai Peninsula. The Wednesday attack on a military intelligence structure saw seven military personnel injured and 17 wounded.
What started as protests by the pro-Morsi faction after the former President was removed rapidly became clashes where it was uncertain which side provoked the situation. With subsequent clashes, security forces became more and more heavy handed with their handling of the situation.
The move on encampments last month saw the violence ignited in other areas as news of the casualties and injuries spread.
The authorities were quick to respond that they had to use force to take care of each of the situations. They also mentioned that they were dealing with unruly protesters and that the Muslim Brotherhood for instigating things.
With the recent assassination attempt on a government official and attack on the military facility, authority feel they have enough to go through with the curfew and force.
From the Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Morsi side, it was simply a matter of the new interim government being aggressive and trying to squash any dissenting voices. They point to members of the Muslim Brotherhood being arrested, media outlets being closed down, and instances of violence as evidence of this.
With both sides pointing to the other as the aggressor and instigator, many in the international community have taken a hands-off approach. Leaders may voice disapproval at holding Morsi and other top leaders, but this is a tangled mess no one wants to touch or commit to a side on once the benefit and consequence of doing so are weighed.
What we have here is the government looks like bullies and suffer casualties from extreme groups and the pro-Morsi protesters are killed and attacked. Then you have the pro-Morsi leadership come off as instigators and other everyday citizens’ lives are restricted by a curfew that is a result of clashes between the first two groups.
Let’s not forget the international community is simply in to say “Please don’t do that. Come on guys.” As leaders of their own countries they can’t just get in and start governing for the leaders in charge, but they can’t pretend nothing is going on there. They’re expected to say something even if that something is largely ineffective in doing anything about the situation.
It’s a lose-lose situation all around.