by Ahram Online
The Democracy Index publishes an analysis of the pattern of demonstrations in Egypt in July, predicting further violence if a political solution is not reached
July 26, 2013 file photo released by the Egyptian army, opponents of Egypt's ousted
President Mohammed Morsi demonstrate at Tahrir Square in Cairo (Photo: AP)
The Democracy Index, a body that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, described July's protests as "one of the biggest waves of demonstrations in Egyptian and international history."
The Index discussed the issue of contested numbers in protests nationwide. It stated that more than 30 million protesters participated in nationwide protests against Mohamed Morsi's rule and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, demanding their fall and supporting the transitional period.
On the other hand, the Index stated that less than one million protesters nationwide took to the streets in support of Morsi, denouncing what they describe as a military coup on constitutional legitimacy.
The first three days of July, according to the Index, witnessed a sum of 420 protests that ended in the toppling of Morsi from power along with his Cabinet. The numbers of demonstrations then fluctuated throughout the month, with the least number of demonstrations on 10 July, with only 12 demonstrations nationwide, and the most demonstrations on 1 July, where 147 demonstrations took to the streets across the country.
The Democracy Index concludes that Morsi opponents outnumber his supporters by 30 to one. However, despite what the Index dubs a "vast difference" in numbers, both Morsi opponents and supporters managed to organise almost equal numbers of demonstrations.
In July, there were 24 different forms of protesting witnessed: the top three, in terms of frequency, were marches, where 582 marches were organised, representing 40.89 percent of all forms of protest; demonstrations, where 264 demonstrations represented 18.55 percent of all protests; and roadblocks, at 8.29 percent of all protests.
Cairo took first place among Egyptian governorates for most protests, witnessing 19.74 percent of total demonstrations. Gharbia governorate came second with 6.76 percent, while Giza came third with 6.69 percent. Surprisingly, Alexandria governorate was not in the top three places — it came fifth, witnessing 5.83 percent of the nation's protests.
Reasons for protesting were divided into two: protesting for political and civil rights increased 60 percent from June to 89.50 percent in July, while protesting for economic and social rights marked 10.50 percent of total demonstrations, including denouncing power cuts and water shortages.
In the categories of the protestors, 37.66 percent were categorised under political Islamist currents, 27.19 percent as people and citizens, and 16.2 percent political activists. The least percentage went to intellectuals, at 0.08 percent.
The Index noted the emergence of "dangerous" developments in protests, including civilians trying to confront other protesters, which is attributed by the Index to a lack of security forces on the ground, and also the use of weapons by Morsi loyalists. The Index also noted the use of children by pro-Morsi protesters, the same observation made by UNICEF Tuesday, decrying the use of children and indicating that such use can have "long-lasting and devastating physical and psychological impacts on children."
The Index noted an unprecedented general propensity to use violence in protests.
Egyptian labour movements also organised tens of demonstrations, according to the Democracy Index.
Labour demonstrations have called for better work conditions. Some 38 demonstrations were organised in July by factory and company workers; 36 by workers in the educational sector; 31 by the workers in governmental sectors; 18 in the security sector; and 16 by workers in the medical sectors.
The Index predicted an increase in the use of violence by pro-Morsi demonstrators, to the extent of "terrorist attacks" if a political solution is not reached.
Continued tensions are also predicted between people and protesters, even if protests are not for political reasons, which might endanger the "right to organise" in Egypt.
In addition, if security forces do not adopt international standards in dispersing the pro-Morsi Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in, there will be disputes and conflicts on domestic, regional and international levels, the Index noted.
The Index recommends adopting lawful means to disperse pro-Morsi sit-ins, so Egypt can be an example of freedom and democracy, and not return to the repressive and violent state it was.
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