Egyptian President Adly Mansour declared a month-long state of emergency this morning after two peaceful protest camps turned violent, CNN reports.
The declaration of a state of emergency is a blaring warning sign of a country on the border of political chaos. Under former President Hosni Mubarak, a state of emergency meant jail-time for citizens who practiced freedom of assembly and free speech. In this way, Mubarak’s 30-year decree was an uncleverly disguised license for tyranny.
Current President Mansour’s announcement of a state of emergency betrays the downward spiral that is the course of the Egyptian state.
Yesterday Egyptian security forces raided two camps filled with supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and his party—The Muslim Brotherhood. The police force bulldozed tents and seized protestors. According to state TV, 56 people have been killed and more than 500 have been injured. It is believed that women and children were present in the camps, which had been erected for over a month.
The two camps—the Nahda camp near Cairo University and the larger camp near Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque—were raided at dawn. The military had to call for support from special forces to clear the Rabaa camp, which became a wreck of makeshift clinics erected in the area are surrounded by blood. Sky News cameraman Mick Deane died in the scuffle.
It is unclear whether protesters had weapons or not, and how many were killed. The Interior ministry is telling a different story from the story Egyptian citizens relayed to CNN.
News sources estimate that hundreds have died and thousands have been injured in clashes between protestors and Egyptian security forces in the last few weeks.
CNN’s Arwa Damon reported from Cairo: “I think what we’re seeing right now is just the beginning of what is promising to be a very, very long and bloody battle as the interim government and the security forces try to regain control of the streets.”
A spokesperson for the anti-Morsi Free Egyptian Party defended the military’s actions saying that the camps constituted a “state within a state.”
Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a member of the pro-Morsi Anti-Coup National Alliance told CNN that the action of the Egyptian army constituted “state terrorism:”
“What are we telling to the rest of the Arab world, the Muslim world—that bullets are better than ballots? We don’t want to buy into this. We would like to avoid extremism, we would like to avoid terrorism, and the only way is [to get] democracy back on track, respecting the will of the Egyptian people, in the presidency, in the constitution.”
So far, a post-Morsi Egypt is looking a lot like a post-Mubarak Egypt. The fate of Egyptian democracy is riding on acting President Adly Mansour and the military, for better or for worse.