CAIRO — Egypt’s interim rulers unveiled a quick timetable for elections and won a $3 billion cash lifeline from the United Arab Emirates today, a day after 55 people were killed when troops fired on a crowd supporting ousted President Mohamed Mursi.
The worst day of violence in more than a year has left Egypt more divided than ever in its modern history, and added to pressure on the military-led authorities to explain how they will restore democracy after the army toppled Mursi last week.
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood rejected the proposed plan for constitutional changes and elections to be held in about six months, holding fast to its demand for the reinstatement of Egypt’s first freely elected leader.
Senior Brotherhood figure Essam El-Erian condemned “a constitutional decree issued after midnight by a person appointed by the putchists, usurping the legislative power from a council elected by the people, and bringing the country back to stage zero”.
In an important signal for the transitional authorities, the ultra-orthodox Islamist Nour Party said it would accept ex-finance minister Samir Radwan as prime minister, potentially paving the way for an interim cabinet.
The Brotherhood said yesterday’s violence was an unprovoked attack on worshippers holding peaceful prayers. But in a sign of the country’s deep divisions, most Cairo residents seemed to accept the official account and blamed the Brotherhood for its members’ deaths. That has left the deposed president’s followers isolated and angrier than ever.
The bloodshed in the Arab world’s most populous nation has raised alarm among key donors such as the United States and the European Union, as well as in Israel, with which Egypt has had a US-backed peace treaty since 1979.
Millions of people took to the streets on June 30 to demand Mursi’s resignation, fearing he was orchestrating a creeping Islamist takeover of the state. (Reuters)