A plain-clothes policeman points his gun as security forces escort Muslim Brotherhood members through supporters of the interim government outside the Al Fath mosque on Ramses Square in Cairo, yesterday.
CAIRO: Mahmoud Badr, the activist whose petition campaign helped to bring down Egypt’s Islamist president, says the bloodshed that has followed is a high but acceptable price for saving the nation from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Badr’s staunch defence of the army, despite the deaths of almost 800 people in the past three days, shows how many Egyptians who consider themselves liberals are sitting back and watching what human rights campaigners say is one setback for democracy and the rule of law after another.
“What Egypt is passing through now is the price, a high price, of getting rid of the Brotherhood’s fascist group before it takes over everything and ousts us all,” Badr, 28, said in a telephone interview.
Badr and his two twenty-something co-founders of the “Tamarud-Rebel” movement encouraged millions of Egyptians to take to the streets in protests demanding the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Mursi.
Badr, a journalist, believes the pivotal Arab nation could be descending into civil war. But he still thinks ousting Egypt’s first freely-elected president was the right decision and defended the military’s conduct in the violent aftermath.
“I did not see anything bad from the army. They did not interfere in politics and I am a witness to that,” said Badr. “I back its decisions on my own and without any instructions as I think they are right and getting us where we want.”
Like the army chief Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Badr sees the Brotherhood as a terrorist group that is a threat to Egypt.
Brotherhood leaders have alleged that former cronies of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, himself ousted in a popular uprising in 2011, funded and encouraged Tamarud along with secret policemen.
Security officials have advised Badr to stay out of sight at a secret location for his safety. He spends most of his time monitoring Egypt’s political upheaval on television.
But Badr appeared on state TV in his trademark polo shirt and blue jeans this week, urging Egyptians to take to the streets and form “popular committees” to protect citizens from the Brotherhood.
“My role now is to act as a pressure group by observing the political transition and be ready to interfere if things go in the wrong direction,” said Badr, who cut his political teeth in the 2011 uprising.