Egypt’s ‘Third Square’ activists reject both army and Morsi
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As supporters of Egypt’s army and ousted president Mohammed Morsi staged mass rival rallies over the weekend, a third group of activists gathered in Cairo to voice their opposition to both sides in the country’s ongoing political crisis.
Egypt witnessed fresh bloodshed over the weekend as supporters of the country’s army and ousted president Mohammed Morsi held mass rival rallies in the capital Cairo.
At least 80 Morsi supporters were killed in clashes with security forces early on Saturday morning in the Egyptian capital and there are fears of more violence to come in the heavily polarised country, with both camps vowing not to back down.
However, between the two warring sides, a small group of Egyptians is attempting to find a middle ground in the country’s ongoing crisis, rejecting both the rule of Morsi and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood as well as the army’s interference in Egyptian politics.
While army supporters have made Tahrir Square the focus of demonstrations and Morsi supporters have focused their protests on Rabaah al-Adawiyah Mosque, these ‘Third Square’ demonstrators gathered in Sphinx Square over the weekend to voice their opposition to both parties.
“The Third Square is an attempt to bring Egyptians together and put an end to the polarisation of our society, which is split between those on Tahrir Square and those at Rabaa Al Adawyia Mosque,” explained Third Square activist Firas Mokhtar.
‘There is an alternative to bloodshed’
Compared to the thousands that have taken to the streets in recent days to support both the army and Morsi, the numbers involved in this new movement are relatively small.
However, the activists hope that their message of a peaceful alternative to the violence that has erupted since the army deposed Morsi on July 3 will encourage others to join.
“Maybe there’s only a few of us tonight. But soon you might hear of another group like ours in another square,” said Samia Jahin, another Third Square activist.
“All we’re trying to do is to put our message out there: there is a third alternative. There is an alternative to blood!”
Meanwhile, Morsi supporters called for new protests to be held on Monday night against what they see as an army-led coup, followed by a “million-person march” on Tuesday.
The call came after the country’s National Defence Council warned on Sunday that it would take "decisive and firm action" against demonstrators if protests turn violent, suggesting a peaceful, middle-ground solution to Egypt’s political turmoil is still a long way off.