CAIRO: Disputes between the Interior Ministry and Muslim Brotherhood members of parliament have intensified as the latter insist on a thorough investigation into what they call “the events of Black Thursday.
“What is happening is taking us backward on the path of reform, one parliament member was quoted as saying on the official Muslim Brotherhood Web site. “Especially since the assaults [during the protests] targeted political and national icons.
Lately, Muslim Brotherhood representatives in parliament have been vocal about events surrounding a key trial of two deputies to the Cassation Court, Hisham El-Bastawisy and Mahmoud Mekki, who pointed out violations during last year’s presidential elections. Protests took place in the streets as the two were tried and police said that “they were obliged to disperse the protests since they were illegal and unauthorized.
El-Bastwisy was reprimanded and Mekki acquitted in a hearing that aroused what has been called “opposition rage.
During the protests, police used violence in dealing with the judges’ supporters; security forces beat and kicked many activists, assaulting Al-Jazeera and Associated Press reporters in the process, confiscating one journalist’s camera and breaking another. One AP reporter, Nadia Abul-Magd, was trampled by security police and threatened by thugs while covering one of the protests.
In addition, around 100 Muslim Brotherhood members were detained, including senior leader and group spokesman Essam Al-Arian and leader Mohammad Mursi, who was reportedly assaulted by the police.
On Thursday, protestors in support of jailed opposition leader Ayman Nour were rounded-up by the hundreds. The supporters surged against security forces, especially after the announcement that the court had confirmed the five-year sentence against imprisoned El-Ghad leader Ayman Nour.
According to George Isaac, founder and leader of Kefaya, “fresh faces and unregistered supporters of the Kefaya (Enough) movement were also arrested.
Last week, 90 upper house members left the latest parliament session in anger and the next day members threatened to sit in if the parliament head, Ahmed Fathi Sorour, continued to refuse to discuss the “events of Black Thursday.
Some Muslim Brotherhood members displayed poster-size pictures of policemen beating up demonstrators; giving visual evidence of “the extreme violations of the riot units deployed to handle the demonstrations. The members wanted to meet with the Minister of Interior and not his deputies, to discuss such acts. They seek to make issuing reports concerning these incidents a parliamentary priority.
Lately, the Muslim Brotherhood have been behaving as a unit, including having a spokesman, a notion that has led the government to consider ways to prevent the group from running for parliament in the future.
Islamists who say they belong to an illegal organization have been able to go into parliament and act in a format that would make them seem like a political party, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif told Reuters Saturday. “We need to think clearly about how to prevent this from happening . We have a secret organization represented in parliament. They are not individuals.
When parliament agreed to extend the decades-old Emergency Law for two years, based on a presidential recommendation, Muslim Brotherhood representatives unanimously refused to pass the decision. In one session, all 88 members came to the parliament wearing black sashes around their shoulders, reading “No to Emergency Law.
In response to the Brotherhood, National Democratic Party members reportedly distributed leaflets reading: “No to terrorism, in what they considered a reminder of what the law was enacted to fight. Muslim Brotherhood members in turn dismissed the notion that the law was intended to fight terrorism, deeming it an excuse used by the government to extend the law in an attempt to squash opposition.
“I hope that the Muslim Brotherhood will achieve something through their recent stand in parliament, commented political science professor and women’s activist Mona Makram Ebeid. “However, I do not think they will pressure the ministry.
Ebeid added that the Interior Ministry will “probably not respond to their demands for an inquiry into the “brutality used by the police forces.
In similar rhetoric, Kefaya leader Isaac does not believe that pressing the ministry through parliament members will yield to investigations, even as disputes mount between the two sides and even if members of parliament “raise the stakes.
“I know that they will push for [an investigation]. But the parliament does not concern us now. we are beyond this point, said Ishac. “We, in Kefaya, are going to international organizations, local pressure is not enough.
“We will never leave those policemen who assaulted us. We have pictures of the violations, said Isaac. “We will go to the United Nations on June 19th, [and] later to Davos and the case of violence will be discussed and studied on the international level, as it should be at this point in time.