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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Muslim Brotherhood Banned

A Cairo court has officially banned the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. All organizations affiliated with the Brotherhood are now illegal under the ban, which includes the Brotherhood’s extensive network of charities and businesses. The court also declared that the government will seize all of the group’s assets. The ruling comes in the wake of an extended government crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood after President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the group, was deposed in early July. The Brotherhood has been banned for much of its history, and only began operating normally as a political party after the 2011 revolution which unseated President Hosni Mubarak.

New Anti-Military, Anti-Brotherhood Group Forms

The Revolution Path Front, a group composed of prominent political activists and dissidents who oppose both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, announced a new campaign to bring back the Egyptian revolution. Among the members of the new coalition are leaders of the April 6th Youth Movement, novelist Ahdaf Soueif, and recently-arrested Revolutionary Socialist member Haytham Mohamadein. “The appointment of 17 governors with military backgrounds, the reinstatement of Mubarak-affiliated figures in some state institutions, and the way by which the constitution-drafting committees were formed give an indication that Egypt is not moving towards the correct revolutionary path,”said Hatem Tallima, a spokesperson for the new group. Political dialogue in Egypt has grown increasingly polarized over recent months, and it remains to be seen what kind of popular support exists for a ‘middle path’ between the rhetoric of the official army-backed government and the Brotherhood and their supporters.

Journalist Arrests Continue

Two reporters with the private newspaper Al-Shurook were arrested in Arish in North Sinai earlier this week, as the army-backed interim government continues their media crackdown on dissident voices. The North Sinai Journalists’ Union declared that the move was a “new security slap against the Egyptian press in North Sinai.” Police reportedly engaged in shaming behavior such as parading the journalists in the street after their detainment and disposing of one of the journalist’s press cards. The two were eventually released, but Ahmed Abu Deraa, a journalist with Al Masry Al Youm, remains in military custody in North Sinai.

Government Erecting Monument at Site of Protest Massacre

Egyptian authorities are erecting a monument in Rabea al-Adawiyya square, the site of violent clashes between security forces and protesters who supported deposed President Mohamed Morsi. Army and police officers killed over 600 protesters and injured over 1000 during the 12-hour confrontation in mid-August. The monument, which is yet unfinished, is meant to represent “the unity of the army, the police and the people” according to an army official involved in the restoration.  Authorities are also renovating Al-Nahda square, another site of a sit-in which was forcibly dispersed by security forces. An urban planner and architect interviewed by Mada Masr said that the renovation was an example of the army writing its own narrative, adding “history is written by the victorious.”

Kenya Mall Siege Over, Authorities Say

Kenyan officials reported that they have finally taken control of a mall in Nairobi, where militants with the Somali Al-Shabaab group were holding shoppers hostage. Al-Shabaab, however, disputes this account and reported that the fighting is still ongoing.  Militants killed at least sixty people and injured more than a hundred during their siege on the mall over the last four days. Bystanders reported hearing explosions this morning coming from the mall, and many details of the militant takeover and siege remain unknown. Kenyan security forces reportedly killed six of the remaining gunmen who were hiding out inside the mall. Among those shoppers killed during the siege was noted Ghanian poet Kofi Awoonor.

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