Two former militant groups offered to call off street protests if the government agrees to ease its pressure on Islamists, a move that underscores how a onetime strong Islamist movement is now bowing to an unprecedented crackdown by security authorities.
The proposal comes after the military rounded up hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and other Islamists in the wake of the country’s worst bout of violence, which followed the Aug. 14 clearing of two sprawling sit-in camps housing protesters calling for the reinstatement of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader.
Trial opened for the Brotherhood’s supreme leader Mohammed Badie and two other senior officials Sunday on charges of inciting the murder of anti-Morsi protesters June 30, the anniversary of his inauguration when millions took to the street to call on him to step down. The first day of their trial coincided with the retrial of ex-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular uprising in 2011, over similar charges.
Critics say the truce proposal reflects cracks within the Islamist alliance led by the Brotherhood, with much of its leadership either imprisoned or on the run.