A group of Muslim Brotherhood protesters were reportedly trying to enter Cairo’s Rabaa Square and mosque Wednesday night, the scene of a 2013 massacre of supporters of the group, only to be asked to leave by the Egyptian security forces responsible for keeping the premise vacant at all times, according to Hadath News Channel.
Cairo’s Raba and Nahda squares were once the primary locations where Brotherhood supporters held sit in protests.
Last night’s incident is the first of its kind since the 2013 massacre of Muslim Brotherhood protestors, as following the complete destruction the square and mosque Egyptian military forces renovated them and then kept them under constant surveillance, with patrols guarding against protesters.
State and independent media reported the story and posted a photo of tens of MB protesters trying to enter the square. The photo was shared widely on following to incident. According to Al Youm Al Sabea news website the protesters lit a small fire in the square “symbolizing their anger”.
Hours later, the Egyptian Chamber of Civil Security issued a statement to all media outlets saying there was no attempt to enter the square or that a fire had been lit inside. The ministry also said that security forces are “extremely vigilant regarding Rabaa Square”, in apparent contradiction to the photo that showing protesters inside of the mosque.
The protests started June 28 2013 and ending brutally August 13 2013, when police and military forces used lethal force to disperse the protesters - killing over 1,300 people including 43 Police officers and arresting over 3,500 Brotherhood supporters according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The number of lives lost during the Rabaa massacre differs greatly from one source to another, going as high as 3,000 according to the Muslim Brotherhood, and as low as 130 according to the Egyptian Ministry of Health.
The latest incident came only a few days after 14 Brotherhood leaders were sentenced to death, including the group’s former leader Mohammed Badea, and 37 others were sentenced to life in prison, in the “Raba Operation Chamber” trial. The verdict was denounced by HRW, which said the ruling was made on political grounds.