Big day of protests means a bad day for Morsi

If the protests throughout Egypt today were, in fact, a test of numbers, then the test didn’t go well for President Morsi. According to the Washington Post:

[A]s each side sought to claim the nation’s majority, and thus the legitimacy, on Sunday, it was apparent that the president’s supporters were vastly outnumbered. And that, political analysts said, left a resolution to Egypt’s crisis hanging in uncertainty.

In Cairo, again according to the Post, the anti-Morsi crowd numbered in the “hundreds of thousands.” Meanwhile, Morsi’s support, mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood, was estimated to be in the “thousands.”

The protests were also a test of the temperature of the police and the military. The test wasn’t as stern as it might have been because the demonstrations were largely peaceful. But, again, the news, as reported by the Post, wasn’t good for Morsi:

The police, once a symbol of Mubarak’s repressive tactics, remained conspicuously absent from the streets around the presidential palace and the Brotherhood headquarters. Some in the police have publicly refused to protect Morsi and his backers in the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a news conference earlier this month, a spokesman for the nation’s police association said the police would not provide protection “for any party or political headquarters,” in a clear message to the Brotherhood.

In some areas of Cairo on Sunday, uniformed officers joined the protesters.

“I reject Morsi. I want him to leave,” said Hussein Ahmed Ibrahim, a police major, who stood on a corner with other officers near the palace, waving a red card that read “Leave” toward the supportive passersby who honked their car horns.

“I’ll protect the protesters, but I won’t protect the palace,” he said. “We’re all like this,” he added of the police. “And the army has the same position.”

One cop can’t speak for the army, of course. The Post provides a more objective account:

Egypt’s military has deployed in limited areas across the country to protect government infrastructure, including the central bank and the nation’s biggest moneymaker, the Suez Canal. But soldiers were nowhere to be seen in the vicinity of Sunday’s protests despite calls from the opposition for the military to intervene to force Morsi out.

At this juncture, the military isn’t going to force Morsi out. But neither does it seem willing to intervene on his behalf.

Presumably, the military wants stability above all. If the protests continue with the present intensity, I think the military will expect Morsi to obtain stability by compromising with the opposition. If is unwilling or unable to do so, and the situation deteriorates, all bets are probably off.

JOHN adds: Check out this photo, via InstaPundit, of anti-Morsi/Brotherhood demonstrators in Cairo:


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