Egyptians bemoan "coup," protest muted
By Tom Pfeiffer and Yasmine Saleh
CAIRO (Reuters) - Denouncing a "coup" by Cairo's shadowy military rulers, Egyptian liberals and Islamists said on Friday the dissolution of a first freely elected parliament has thrown the country back into turmoil 16 months the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.
Faced with more evidence that the generals who pushed aside Mubarak to appease a popular revolt will not let an Islamist movement they oppressed for decades simply sweep to power, the Muslim Brotherhood warned of "dangerous days" ahead and some compared it to the start of Algeria's civil war in 1992, when its army cancelled an election an Islamist party was winning.
But on the eve of a presidential ballot that may install a Mubarak protege as head of state, few took to the streets and the most potent force opposing the army, the Brotherhood, has urged Egyptians to set aside doubts on its Islamist agenda and support its candidate on Saturday to thwart the old guard.
"All the democratic gains of the revolution could be wiped out and overturned with the handing of power to one of the symbols of the previous era," the Brotherhood said after supreme court judges appointed under Mubarak voided the voting that had given it and hardline Islamist allies a legislative majority.
Yet few analysts saw violent confrontation any time soon.
The ruling seemed to many to reflect unease on the ruling military council that a presidential win for the Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsy over former general Ahmed Shafik could sink its hopes of retaining army influence over a civilian leadership to which the council, the SCAF, promises to hand power by July 1.
But the Brotherhood, wary of giving any grounds for legal challenges to its bid for the presidency, did not call members on to the streets. Those few who did gather, from secular and other Islamist groups, numbered barely in the hundreds at Tahrir Square in Cairo, birthplace of the revolution, and other sites.
A weariness of chaos and recurrent violence among many of the 82 million Egyptians - as well as worries fueled by hardline Islamist violence in Tunisia, whose revolt inspired the one in Egypt - may have bolstered popular support for Shafik, who served for a month as Mubarak's last prime minister. Continued...