Frontiers of Law, Political Science and Art

Rabba massacre and the military coup of Egypt


Ali Adel Ali and Ali Ibrahim

It was the day Egypt's security forces used automatic weapons, armored personal carriers and military bulldozers to raid and crush a month-long sit-in protest by thousands of supporters of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy. According to a yearlong Human Rights Watch investigation released this week, at least 817 people were killed. Six weeks earlier, Morsy had been removed from power in a popular military coup led by his then-defense secretary, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Morsy's supporters immediately took to the streets, protesting the removal of Egypt's first democratically elected president. The heart of the demonstrations was Rabaa Al-Adawiya, a mosque in eastern Cairo where tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered, occupying the building and an adjacent square. For weeks, Egyptian authorities ordered demonstrators to leave, then threatened to raid the massive sit-in that had mushroomed into a small town; it included a makeshift barbershop and a kitchen that prepared thousands of ready-to-eat meals. But Morsy supporters wouldn't budge. Many had brought their families, even their children. This was their Tahrir Square.


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