This week the news has been full of scary pictures and reports about growing unrest in Egypt. But these stories have incorrectly linked this violence to the Sixth of April movement, a non-violent organization that started in 2008, and helped lead to the revolution in January of 2011.
The Sixth of April Movement
The Sixth of April movement was founded long before the revolution started, to advocate for fair wages for workers. During the recent presidential elections, the SIxth of April movement formally supported Mohammed Morsi over Ahmed Shafiq, a military leader under Mubarak. They did this mostly because they didn't want anyone from the Mubarak regime gaining power.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Sixth of April movement, people planned to gather in several places around Cairo. They also chose to use this opportunity to stage a peaceful protest against the new government's disappointing policies.
Embarrassment for Morsi
It is an embarrassment to Morsi's government that a large group which endorsed Morsi's election is now publicly protesting against him. Late on the night April 6, the otherwise peaceful protests did turn violent after the police started shooting the protesters with tear gas, as they have done systematically during similar protests.
Coincidentally, on April 5, a tragic and isolated violent incident between individuals in neighboring Christian and Muslim families in the Al Khosous neighborhood north of Cairo caused six deaths and eight injuries on both sides. This started a day before the Sixth of April anniversary, and was unrelated to the issues of the protest.
Fanning the Flames
Now, increasingly urgent and misleading reports from the news media are fanning the flames of sectarian violence, causing an isolated incident to grow into a much bigger issue, leading unfortunately to 77 more injuries and yet another death on April 7. And meanwhile the peaceful protests for the Sixth of April movement are being ignored, along with the issues they raise.
The Morsi government hasn't even issued a statement about the important concerns being voiced during the Sixth of April protests. Now the entire movement is getting passed over in the press and in the public eye because of conveniently sensationalistic news coverage.
It's Really About Morsi
It's a credit to the Sixth of April movement that they are actively protesting Morsi's failed policies, and a shame to the news media that they are inflating the implications of such isolated and unfortunate news to try to distract the public from the real issues.
by Khaled Sayed, April 7, 2013
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