McClatchy reports: Egyptian security forces on Sunday openly beat demonstrators sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, without any provocation, in a sign of how the once powerful group has become the target of official suppression.
The police reaction to the Brotherhood march stood in stark contrast to the scene blocks away, where pro-military crowds, summoned to celebrate Egypt’s war with Israel 40 years ago, hoisted soldiers and police on their shoulders and offered cheers.
The difference was apparent to two McClatchy reporters who left the pro-military demonstration to cover the Brotherhood gathering. As they witnessed police beatings, the two reporters were pounced on by security officers, who stole their cell phones and cameras and threatened to haul one away. The abuse ended only after the reporters proved they’d been at the other rally by pulling out posters of Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah El Sissi, the head of the military who engineered the toppling of President Mohammed Morsi in July.
At previous demonstrations, Egyptian security forces have said the Brotherhood, the secretive organization through which Morsi ascended to office, instigated the clashes, some of which left hundreds dead.
But on Sunday, there was no sign of Brotherhood provocation. The beatings took place well away from the huge crowds that were celebrating the military. Residents nearby also played a role, refusing to give Brotherhood sympathizers shelter as they sought to flee the security forces’ onslaught. [Continue reading…]