Egypt eyewitness diary: ‘The president seemed afraid for the country’

Morsi supporter Tarek Sebaei, a student at Zagazig university, gives his account of a turbulent week on the streets of Cairo

Sunday 30 June

I was protesting for Morsi in Rabaa al-Adawiya square [in east Cairo], where I have been camped all week. We’d already been there for two days, and we wanted to demonstrate the message that Egypt doesn’t just have anti-Morsi people. There are a lot of people who support him, and who wanted to have more patience, and wait until Dr Morsi has more time to fix what’s going on. Thirty years of corruption takes time to be fixed. People were singing and chanting for Morsi, and calling for people to respect his legitimacy. There were a lot of discussions taking place in the tents. We talked about how there was a lot of media propaganda going on against us, and about how the crisis was being exaggerated purposely by certain parties. The crises were caused by the different government institutions, and by businessmen loyal to the former regime, and they used these crises to achieve their own political interest.

Monday 1 July

After the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters was attacked overnight, I felt insecure and let down. The police were supposed to protect us. It seemed like all the government institutions were now working openly against the popular will of the people – as if they had been appointed by Mubarak himself. Later, when the military made its 48-hour ultimatum, there was a lot of fury at Rabaa al-Adawiya at how the military was intervening in public life again.

Tuesday 2 July

By this stage, we weren’t sure what else Dr Morsi could have done. He did what he could and made some compromises, but we knew that anything he did wasn’t going to satisfy the opposition. There was a tone of fear in the president’s speech that night. He seemed like he was genuinely afraid for the future of the country, and wanted them to wake up to the inevitable fighting that would erupt if he was forced out.

Wednesday 3 July

When we finally heard the news of the coup, there was overwhelming anger. Generally speaking we wanted to remain peaceful, but that did not stop some of the younger Morsi supporters from trying to break into the military institutions around the site. I voted for Morsi, and I felt like my vote had been wasted, and my dignity as an Egyptian had been ruined. I felt that the people of Egypt were being punished for not voting for Mubarak-era politicians. It was like we were being punished for winning all the elections.

Thursday 4 July

Overnight, many senior Muslim brothers were arrested, and it felt like a return to the old regime with their oppressive policies. Already, pro-Morsi TV channels were shut down, and I felt like the voice of a large part of Egyptian life had been silenced. It felt like the 2011 revolution had been in vain.

Friday 5 July

Millions of Egyptians marched to express a very strong message to the Egyptian military that we felt that they had broken their vows, in terms of respecting the constitution and its vows. Some people went to the Republican Guard club, where the elected president was being locked up. Security forces started to fire teargas bombs against the peaceful protesters there, and they shot live ammunition and birdshot. I helped move the injured back to the field hospital at Rabaa al-Adawiya.

It’s not in the ideology of the brotherhood to seek revenge – but a lot of people in places like Sinai have already started rebelling against the military leadership. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds