Sunday, August 18, 2013

Crackdown on Brotherhood makes Cairo a ghost town after dark - Reuters Canada

By Michael Georgy

CAIRO (Reuters) - When night falls in Cairo, a security crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood quickly turns the Arab world's most vibrant city into a ghost town run mostly by vigilantes eager to hunt down members of the Islamist group.

The sound of boats blaring music on the Nile and hawkers selling fruit juice and nuts fades as a dusk-to-dawn curfew takes hold after the bloodiest week in Cairo's modern history.

On Wednesday, security forces broke up protest camps set up by Brotherhood supporters to demand the return to power of the Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, ousted by the army on July 3.

More than 700 people have been killed in the clampdown and subsequent clashes between security forces and the Brotherhood. A state of emergency was imposed, along with the curfew.

After most Egyptians have gone home at night, Cairo turns eerie as the military fans out, parking armored personnel carriers on highways and beside bridges and installations.

When it comes to smaller roads and alleyways, the soldiers seem happy to let the vigilantes, better known as "Popular Committees", run the show, along with a few policemen in black hoods who line up suspects along bridges overlooking the Nile.

Some of the volunteers seem to be respected older men who command authority in dusty, run-down Cairo neighborhoods.

Then there are youngsters like Kano, an energetic 16-year-old who stood at a street corner inspecting the few passing cars. "Long live Egypt," he yells, then laughs.   Continued...
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