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Anger Mounts Over Egypt's 'Smooth Military Coup'

Egyptian anti-military protesters waved their shoes — a way of showing their extreme anger — as they demonstrated in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Thursday. More protests are planned for today.
Mohammed Abed
AFP/Getty Images
Egyptian anti-military protesters waved their shoes — a way of showing their extreme anger — as they demonstrated in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Thursday. More protests are planned for today.

People around the world are watching anxiously to see the reaction in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities to Thursday's "smooth military coup."

"Leftist and liberal Egyptian activists" have called for demonstrations, al-Jazeera reports, starting after midday prayers in that Muslim nation (Egypt is six hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast).

Al-Jazeera adds that "the April 6 Youth Movement and Revolutionary Socialist" announced they will join together to protest "against the smooth military coup" — their term for the decisions announced Thursday by the country's highest court. It effectively dissolved Egypt's parliament and ruled that a former top aide to deposed President Hosni Mubarak can remain on the ballot for this weekend's presidential runoff, despite a law that had barred members of Mubarak's regime from holding office.

As the BBC writes, "the court said last year's parliamentary vote — the first free and fair poll in decades — was unconstitutional, and called for fresh elections. The decision effectively puts legislative power into the hands of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scaf)." And the court may have put former Mubarak regime Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in position to win the weekend runoff against the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi.

From Cairo, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells Morning Edition that the youth groups that were so crucial to the overthrow of Mubarak feel "they may have lost the revolution."

There were some demonstrations on Thursday after the court's rulings were announced. Today, we'll watch the news and update as we get word about what's happening.

Al-Jazeera is live-blogging, as is The Guardian.

Update at 11:35 a.m. ET. Still Gathering:

According to the Guardian, people are still gathering "for a planned protest" in Cairo's Tahrir Square. But it adds that there's a sense among some Egyptians that the square is no longer the place where they should gather for such demonstrations because the military has essentially "sanitized" it and turned Tahrir into a place for protesters to let off steam but accomplish little.

Update at 11:15 a.m. ET. Security Forces Surround Parliament:

The New York Times writes that "Egypt's military rulers formally dissolved Parliament Friday, state media reported, and security forces were stationed around the building on orders to bar anyone, including lawmakers, from entering the chambers without official notice. The developments, reported on the Web site of the official newspaper Al Ahram, further escalated tensions."

Update at 8:55 a.m. ET. Calls To Boycott Election:

Reuters reports that there's a growing movement among Egytians to "boycott the election or spoil ballots" in protest over what's happening.

Among those who won't be voting: Mohamed ElBaradei. The Nobel laureate, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and one-time presidential candidate in the Egyptian elections tells the Guardian that:

"We are going to elect a president in the next couple of days without a constitution and without a parliament. He will be a new emperor, holding both legislative and executive authority and with the right to enact laws and even amend the constitution as he sees fit."

Update at 8:35 a.m. ET. "Great Uncertainty" And Apprehension:

The BBC writes that correspondent Lyse Doucet, who is in Cairo's Tahrir Square, says there is "great uncertainty and a certain amount of apprehension" about what will happen next.

Update at 7:35 a.m. ET: According to the Guardian, about an hour ago "a few protesters [were] starting to gather in Tahrir Square, but it remains pretty empty." But al-Jazeera is saying there may still be a "mass rally" there today.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.