A new Egyptian opposition group has risen to the forefront, as the country marks the second anniversary of the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak. The ‘Black Bloc’ is threatening Islamist authorities and sparking fears of a street war.
“This mysterious group appeared around the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution when they released a statement saying they would fight the Muslim brotherhood and strive for the goals of the revolution,” Cairo-based journalist Bel Trew told RT.
It’s around that time that the group developed a Facebook page, giving advice on street fighting. The Black Bloc has also taken responsibility for a number of acts of civil disobedience, such as stopping public transport and setting fire to some Muslim Brotherhood buildings.
“This has sparked mass criticism from authorities, including the Muslim brotherhood and their TV channels. The prosecutor general said that they were a terrorist group and would be arrested if they were caught red-handed,” Trew said.
But the masked members of the group say they’re here to stay. “We will always be present in Egypt, even after all our demands are met,” one of the group’s members told RT.
Members say the group formed in reaction to the negligence of their peaceful demands and the role of Egypt’s interior ministry, which receives orders from the current regime.
“We stand against the oppressive and tyrant regime. We call upon the interior ministry to deliver justice for those who have been killed and we will continue our demands until they are met. Our actions are in self-defense. We are protecting ourselves but have never attacked anyone,” the member said.
Many worry that the group could spark Islamist retaliation. Some Islamists have threated to attack the so-called “enemies of Islam,” Al Arabiya reported. The tension may create a spiral of violence between “rival militias.”
And it now appears that a potential Black Bloc rival could emerge from the Muslim Brotherhood government itself.
“The first reaction from the Muslim Brotherhood is that they’d create the ‘White Bloc’ in order to respond to pressure from the Black Bloc. Both of them would be deemed illegal groups if that happens,” Political activist Ahmed Naguib told RT.
The comments come just one day after opposition protesters hit the streets of Egypt, protesting against President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood Party. The demonstrations prompted police to respond with tear gas and water cannon. (link to story).
Protesters demanded that Morsi fulfill the goals of the revolution which brought him and his Muslim Brotherhood party to power. Those demands include a new unity government, amendments to an Islamist-drafted constitution, and the sacking of Egypt's prosecutor general.
And it’s those same issues which the Black Bloc says it is fighting to resolve.
“The [Black Bloc] stands for a just cause. They are trying to portray themselves as vigilantes but the true anger behind [the group] is the frustration from the lack of social justice and the lack of fulfillment of the demands of the revolution. So it’s a true anger among certain groups of youth,” Naguib said.