Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Square sit-ins
Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Square sit-ins -

Open-ended sit-in, civil disobedience

Start date: June24, 2013; End date: August 14, 2013


The Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-ins began on Friday 24 June, 2013 in support of former president Mohamed Morsi and came as a response to rival protests planned for June 30 by the Tamarod movement.

The larger Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in was held in Nasr City, in front of its namesake mosque, and was composed of thousands of demonstrators. The Nahda sit-in took place in Giza’s Nahda Square, near Cairo University.

The sit-ins were organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Gamaa Islamiyya, and joined by other Islamist parties with the notable exception of the Salafi Nour party, which announced it would not participate in any demonstrations.

Amnesty International issued a press release on August 2 detailing cases of torture allegedly carried out by pro-Morsi supporters on individuals with opposing political views. Amnesty reported victim testimonies which indicated that torture was carried out inside the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in.

Residents near the Nasr City sit-in reported being searched by protesters on their way to their homes, as well as having their national ID cards checked. Some residents also reported their apartments being fired at, without causalities.

The residents staged a protest on July 18 over these incidents and the use of loudspeakers and lights at night by the protesters, but the counter-protest was largely ineffectual.

There were at least five reported incidents of journalists covering the protests being attacked, by pro-Morsi protesters and in at least one case by the police.

On July 8, clashes broke out at dawn between Rabaa al-Adaweya protesters and the army outside the Republican Guard headquarters. The protesters claimed they were shot at during dawn prayers.

The army’s official position was that the protesters were armed and attempted to storm the building, and they responded in self-defense and to protect state property. The clashes resulted in over 50 deaths and the arrest of 647, all of whom were released by July 14.

More violence erupted near the entrance to the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in on July 27 between police and protesters. The official narrative stated the clashes broke out when protesters marched out of the sit-in and attempted to block the 6October Bridge. The protesters claimed security forces attempted to raid the sit-in. The clashes resulted in at least 80 deaths and 299 injuries.

On July 31, the Minister of Information, speaking on behalf of the Cabinet, declared the sit-ins a threat to state security and a danger to citizens, and instructed the Ministry of Interior to disperse them.

The dispersal came two weeks later on August 14 when police, aided by the military, moved to clear the sit-ins. Police offered the protesters a safe exit from the sit-ins and interim president Adly Mansour promised earlier that protesters would not be pursued unless they broke the law. Hundreds of protesters left the sit-ins in response to the police’s warnings.

Police began firing tear gas after dawn before moving in to clear the camps. Police claimed they dispersed the Nahda sit-in after two hours, while the clashes in Rabaa al-Adaweya lasted for several. The official death toll from the dispersals stands at 467.

The aftermath of the dispersal saw police stations, churches and public intuitions attacked across the country. Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei resigned in protest over the loss of life that resulted from the dispersal of the sit-ins.




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