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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Amnesty International: Police Used Live Ammunition Against Protesters

According to a new statement released by Amnesty International, Egyptian security forces used live ammunition against protesters during demonstrations that took place on October 6, 2013, when supporters of the deposed president Mohamed Morsi protested against the military-backed interim government and the military’s removal of Morsi from power. Amnesty said that Egyptian security forces used “excessive and unwarranted lethal force” and also utilized knives and firearms while dealing with protesters in early October. Some protesters reportedly fought back with fireworks and threw rocks as well. Over 57 protesters were killed on October 6, and the international rights group requested that the Egyptian government investigate this incident and the methods used by police.

Eid Protests

As Egyptians begin the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday, small rival protests broke out around Cairo between supporters of the deposed president and supporters of the current military-backed interim government. According to Al-Ahram, protests in Giza broke out when Morsi supporters “flashed a pro-Morsi hand sign to camera crews gathered on top of an overpass covering the prayers.” Groups then gathered, chanting competing slogans, such as “Abdel-Fattah [El-Sisi] is the slayer” and “We love you Sisi!” Unlike during previous events, the protesters quickly scattered and dispersed. Egyptian security forces have take security precautions and blocked off several large squares – including the center of the 2011 revolution, Tahrir Square -  in anticipation of more protests during the holiday.

World Cup Qualifying Match Between Ghana and Egypt

Ghana’s football team will play Egypt tonight in a much-anticipated match in Kumasi, Ghana. The winning team of this round of qualifying playoffs is slated to go to the Brazil, 2014 FIFA World Cup. Egypt’s Pharoahs, led by American coach Bill Bradley, will face off against Ghana’s Black Stars, led by Ghanian coach Kwesi Appiah; both are considered to be in the top five best teams on the continent. Bradley referenced Egypt’s recent political history in a press conference last week, saying “[World Cup] qualification could indicate that the country is moving forward.” He added that football was a unifying goal, and that “in Egypt, everyone speaks about their World Cup dream, regardless of their political background.” The last time Egypt’s team went to the World Cup was in 1990.

Egypt Plays a Role in Gaza’s Suffering Economy

According to the Gaza strip’s deputy economics minister, economic activity in Gaza has been reduced by almost 90 percent since the military-backed interim government replaced Egypt’s former president, Mohamed Morsi, in early July. Egypt’s new government has cracked down on smuggling tunnels and as a result, fuel has become increasingly hard to come by, food prices are up and construction supplies have almost disappeared. The head of the Palestinian Contractor’s Union said that “this is the second worst year we have known,” only trumped by 2008, when Israel’s blockade choked off the local construction industry.  One complicating factor is that Egypt’s government frequently closes the Rafah border (indeed, the border was just closed again during Eid al-Adha celebrations) and the flow of people in and out of the border has been reduced by around 75 percent since July, according to an Israeli organization called Gisha that monitors the movement of people in and out of Gaza.

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