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June 30th Demonstrations

On Sunday, June 30, Egypt saw likely the largest recorded demonstrations in its history. While it appears that several million people took to the streets in total, early specific estimates of the number of protestors nationwide ranged from a relatively high 14 million (according to an unnamed military source) to a very improbable 22 million (according to al-Wafd, the newspaper for the secularist New Wafd Party). It is estimated that over 100,000 gathered in Alexandria’s Sidi Jaber Square and that nearly 500,000 crowded Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand that early presidential elections be held. The primary pro-Morsi gathering in Cairo, at Raba’a al-Adawiya, continued to attract tens of thousands of people in a largely peaceful show of support for Morsi.

While hundreds were injured, coverage of the day’s events suggests that a total of five people died on June 30. First, in the southern Egyptian city of Assiut, three people were killed and between 27 and 35 more were injured. According to witnesses, anti-Morsi protesters had gathered outside the Assiut provincial government office when an individual on a motorcycle opened fire on the crowd, injuring 11 and killing 21-year old Abanoub Adel (also reported as Abanoub Atef), a Christian. Many in the crowd suspected that the gunman was an Islamist, prompting the protest to move to the local office of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party. There, Morsi supporters and opponents clashed again. The large crowd of anti-Morsi protesters started to disperse as shots began to ring out through the evening. Witnesses have stated that the shooters were Morsi supporters. Another 21 protesters were injured outside the Muslim Brotherhood office, and two protesters died: 27-year old Mohammed Nassef Shaker and 37-year old Mohammed Ahmed Abd Elhamid.

Dilga, a town in southern Minya governorate (Upper Egypt), also experienced sectarian intimidation and violence. Reportedly following widespread anti-Morsi marches, local Muslim youth “roamed the streets repeating sectarian chants, banging on the doors and windows of some Christian homes and pelting them with rocks.” No injuries were recorded from this event, but it can be seen as a prelude to further sectarian violence that would continue in Dilga over the coming days, including an attack on the Mar Girgis church on July 3.

In Beni Suef, an anti-Morsi protester, 25-year old Ammar Gouda, was shot and killed by unknown individuals who fired on an anti-Morsi crowd. The death was confirmed by Egyptian Health Minister Mohamed Hamed. It is not clear how the conflict began. Atef Marzouk, described as “a leading member of the Islamist [Building and Development Party] in Beni Suef,” claimed that an anti-Morsi crowd first attacked a pro-Morsi demonstration. Shaimaa Mafhouz, a journalist, stated, “A number of assailants, accused by protesters of being Islamist supporters of Morsi, attacked the rally…Some clusters of protesters scattered and hid inside the mosques surrounding the square; at the same time the armed forces mobilized to contain the situation.” She noted that this anti-Morsi protest numbered about 1,000 individuals. Additionally, an 18-year-old was killed in clashes in Fayoum; no other details were available.

More reports of injuries resulting from various confrontations came in from around the country during the day. Protestors attacked the Muslim Brotherhood’s local headquarters in the town of Shebin al-Qanater, in Qalyubia Province. The building was vandalized, and fires were set outside the compound. In Beheira, about 300 people were injured during the day, including at least 50 anti-Muslim Brotherhood protesters who were hit by rubber bullets while protesting in front of the Freedom and Justice Party’s regional headquarters. As for other governorates, a translated report from Al-Masry Al-Youm indicates “15 [injured] in Monufiya, seven in Damietta, five in Aswan, three in Daqahlia, and 15 in President Morsy’s home governorate, Sharqiya.”

Beyond the aforementioned deaths and injuries, “organized sexual harassment” and sexual assaults against women were also widespread on June 30. In Tahrir Square alone, there were 46 documented cases of sexual harassment or assault on Sunday.