Egypt braced for renewed protests as Muslim Brotherhood stays on streets
Egypt is braced for another round of mass demonstrations on Friday, with the weeks-long impasse between the Muslim Brotherhood and the country's military-backed interim government – – showing no signs of abating.
Both the Brotherhood and its secular-minded opponents have announced large afternoon protests, with the Brotherhood refusing to leave the streets unless Morsi is restored to the presidency – a demand that will never be agreed to.
For their part, the military and its proxies are equally stubborn – , with several senior brothers under arrest and their assets frozen. Morsi himself has been imprisoned incommunicado in an unknown location since his removal on 3 July.
There are fears that the impasse could lead to more state killings – such as – or a heightening of violence in extremist hotspots such as the Sinai desert.
On Thursday night the new interim president Adly Mansour – a senior judge installed by the army the day after Morsi's departure – issued a veiled warning to the Brotherhood. In a televised speech to the nation, Mansour said the state would not give in to those they see as trying to destabilise the country.
"We are going through a critical stage and some want us to move towards chaos and we want to move towards stability. Some want a bloody path," he said. "We will fight a battle for security until the end."
Almost every state and private media outlet has swung behind the new order, with the government clamping down on those who dare to express alternative narratives. A cameraman for al-Jazeera, the only Arabic-language channel to cover in any detail the sizeable pro-Morsi protests, was arrested as he filmed clashes between Morsi supporters and police earlier this week.
Prosecutors detained al-Jazeera's Mohamed Badr for 15 days after his arrest at the clashes in central Cairo on Monday night. Badr's colleague, producer Mohamed Gomaa, later asked officers what Badr had been detained for. "They said it's enough to accuse him of working with al-Jazeera, because they are traitors, and people working for al-Jazeera want to set the country on fire," Gomaa claimed.
Al-Jazeera is funded by Qatar, also a major financial backer of Mohamed Morsi's administration, and the channel is accused of Brotherhood sympathies. Al-Jazeera's bureau chief was thrown out of an army press conference last week – to applause from other local journalists – while al-Jazeera journalists said they were ejected from another press conference at the presidency on Wednesday.