Radicals infiltrate Cairo rally
THE FIRST large-scale participation of the Muslim Brotherhood party in demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square last weekend has raised fears that the radical Muslim group is planning to participate in a new Egyptian government following elections in November.
On Friday, tens of thousands of protesters staged one of the largest demonstrations in Tahrir Square since the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak in February.
This demonstration, however, was different to the many that preceded it. This was the first time that the Mus- lim Brotherhood as a whole has protested, even though protesters identifying with the party have taken part in demonstrations before. The Brotherhood called for an Islamist state to established and some of its protesters chanted anti-Israel slogans.
On Sunday, following the protest, security forces evicted the few hundred protesters who had remained in the square as part of a pro-democracy sit-in. Dozens were arrested and tents were smashed. The raid has given rise to reports on opposition websites that the Supreme Army Council — currently governing Egypt behind the scenes — has cut a deal with the Brotherhood, guaranteeing it a share of power after the elections in return for its support in restoring order. Army chief of staff General Sami Anan denied these rumours.
For now, Israel is relying on the Egyptian army to maintain the peace treaty between the two countries. Defence Minster Field Marshal Mohammed Hossein Tantawi promised in an address two weeks ago that Egypt would continue to abide by the peace treaty.
Former President Mubarak, whose trial on multiple charges of corruption and murder of protesters began this week in Cairo, is also being accused of harming national interests by selling gas to Israel. Mr Mubarak has denied charges that Israel paid under-market value prices for the gas.