Socialist Worker

Egypt's morgues overflow as military massacres hundreds

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2367

A mourner uses ice packs and fans on bodies in one of the makeshift morgues

A mourner uses ice packs and fans on bodies in one of the makeshift morgues (Pic: Mosa'ab Elshamy)


The army has killed over 1,000  people on the streets of Egypt in the last week. It attacked two sit-ins in Cairo squares and an occupation of a mosque by supporters of deposed president Mohamed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Security forces killed 36 Muslim Brotherhood supporters being held in the back of a prison van last Monday. They fired gas into the confined space and the men suffocated.

Morgues overflowed as volunteers frantically used fans and bags of ice to keep bodies from decomposing in the heat.

“Many relatives of those killed cannot get their bodies to bury unless they agree to sign a statement that their relative committed suicide,” Revolutionary Socialist Hatem Tallima told Socialist Worker. 

Some signed in desperation to give their loved one a speedy burial. Others refused to allow the real cause of death to be covered up. One woman told an Egyptian news service, “I would die before accepting something like this. I will not give up the rights of my brother.”

Attacks

The army has killed over 2,500 people since it took power on 3 July. It has carried out violent attacks on protesters across the country. “There are no legal investigations into the thousands being killed and there are many thousands who have been imprisoned” said Hatem. 

He reports that local committees to “protect” the revolution are made up of regime thugs who harass and beat women wearing the veil and men with beards.  “They are imposing a bloody military dictatorship and bringing back Mubarak’s people in the government, media and economy.”

He added, “The media now portray the 25 January 2011 revolution as a conspiracy. They want to make the army look like the real makers and protectors of the revolution.” 

But he explains that the army acted because it was worried about the strength of the revolution, particularly among workers, in the months leading up until June.

 “This was one of the reasons the popular rage against Mursi was so widespread,” he said. “That is why they have brought trade union leader Kamal Abu Aita into the government. They want to make a buffer between the regime and the workers’ movement.”

So far the army has succeeded in a counter attack on the revolution. It is using the popular anger against Mursi’s presidency to win support, and has managed to mobilise masses on the streets. 

They are also co-opting many revolutionary forces to their side. The opportunism of the liberals, radical nationalists and the old left has led to many agreeing to be a part of the new government. 

Nationalist

Prominent figures such as the nationalist Hamdeen Sabahi have backed the army’s assault on the Brotherhood. But a minority in Egypt, including the Revolutionary Socialists (see Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists letter to supporters) and the April 6 movement, is both standing against the army’s violence and opposing the Brotherhood.   

These people believe the masses can be won for new struggles as the latest regime reveals its true nature in the coming weeks and months. 

 


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