Millions of Egyptians flooded into the streets on the first anniversary of “Islamist” President Mohamed Morsi's inauguration on Sunday demanding his resignation marking the largest demonstrations since 2011 and probably the biggest protests in the country’s history!
The scenes, chants, slogans, even insults and emotions are quite similar to the ones witnessed during the Egyptian (illusion of a) Revolution two years ago. The people of Egypt want Morsi to step down as they no longer want him to rule and are tired of his Islamist policies.
So what caused the people to loathe Egypt's first “democratically” elected president? After all, he came through a proper political channel and through fair means. He was someone who was thought to bring about a change in the lives of the people who had been suffering under Mubarak’s tyrannical rule. What happened that made him Egypt’s New Pharaoh?
The answers to these questions are complicated but what we can do is analyze the important events, or factors, which might have contributed to the Egyptian President’s infamy. These factors can help us understand why the Egyptian people, only after a year of Morsi’s rule, decided to come out on the streets.
1- Muslim Brotherhood Association:
The first and foremost factor which probably affected Morsi’s reputation the most was his association with the notorious Muslim Brotherhood organization. In fact, we can also count this as the sole factor responsible for Morsi’s ill repute. When Hosni Mubarak was ousted, Mohammed Morsi was elected as the President of Egypt. He is a member of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) which is a political faction of the Muslim Brotherhood which is an illegal group and has also allegedly been involved in certain criminal activities.
2- November 2011 “Dictatorial” Decree:
Only after five months Morsi had assumed the President’s office, he announced a very controversial decree that expanded his powers and put his decisions beyond legal challenge. It was known as the “dictatorial” decree. It aimed towards drafting a new “Islamist-dominated” constitution and the president sought to protect it from legal review. The first mass protests after Mubarak’s ouster were witnessed soon after the possibility of this decree emerged.
3- Sectarian/ Religious Issues:
Clashes between Salafist Sunni sheikhs, Shi’ites, and Christians became frequent. Just last week four people were killed in a sectarian mob attack. Accordingto reports, 3,000 people attacked Shi’ites’ houses in a village near Cairo by Salafists. Since the ouster of Mr. Mubarak in February 2011, a growing number of Coptic Orthodox Christians have left Egypt and many are preparing to do so, fearing discrimination by an Islamist-controlled government under Morsi. People died and got wounded during violent clashes at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in central Cairo in April after a funeral service for four Egyptian Christians killed in sectarian violence with extremist Muslims. Coptic Christians are also some of the biggest business providers in Egypt and since they are leaving in huge numbers, the country is going to go through economic turmoil as well.
4- Sexual Violence Against Women:
This probably started even before Morsi assumed power, during the 2011 protests and that was just the beginning. Tahrir Squire became a notorious place for women where they were attacked, assaulted and sexually abused with a disturbing frequency. It started with CBS’s Lara Logan’s attack in Feb 2011. Many suspected that the mob assaults were carried out by men hired by the Muslim Brotherhood. Those speculations were (to an extent) confirmed when 29 rapes were documented on January 25 this year. After a couple of months, several human rights and women’s rights organizations stepped up and provided evidence, in videos and testimonies, of the women who were violently sexually assaulted that day to prove that the attacks were planned and politically motivated. These sexual assault cases underscored the failure of Morsi’s government.
5- Controversial NGO Legislation:
And last but not the least, the controversial draft for the regulation of NGOs or civil societies was prepared by Morsi in May that drew criticism from activists, Western governments and the United Nations human rights chief, who said it was more stifling than regulations under the ousted Hosni Mubarak. It was said to cripple all the organizations dedicated to reporting and working on human rights abuses. It was also considered to be a preparation to provide Muslim Brotherhood legal status as an organization.
There are several other factors including economic reasons but these five are the highlights of Morsi’s “troubled” regime that have caused people to organize mass demonstrations, yet again. You can watch the photos from the Cairo protests here.