Egypt protests erupt on anniversary of uprising

Protests swelled in Egypt on Saturday as demonstrators marked the third anniversary of the uprising that led to the ousting of two regimes.

According to multiple media reports, military supporters are holding celebratory rallies urging the head of the army to run for president. The military is also clashing with supporters of the deposed Islamist regime, as well as secular activists that oppose both sides.

“The days' rallies are taking place in an atmosphere of fear, a day after four bombs exploded in Cairo targeting police and killing six people, believed to be an escalation of a campaign of attacks by Islamic militants,” the Associated Press reported.

“Another 15 people were killed around the country Friday when Morsi's supporters armed with gasoline bombs and firearms loaded with birdshot clashed with security forces. The Interior Ministry said that 237 people were arrested during the protests,” according to AP.

In 2013, the Egyptian army toppled the newly-elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi fell from power after millions of people took to the streets demanding the removal of the country's first freely elected leader, just one year after he was voted into a four-year term. 

Morsi succeeded Hosni Mubarak, who resigned in 2011, two weeks after the Jan. 25 uprising.

He still has supporters, but their ranks have been thinned by the army’s crackdown. Morsi’s 2012 electoral victory sparked fierce anti-Islamist sentiments among many young people in the country, who had hoped the 2011 protests would bring democracy to the theocratic state.

The complicated web of events has the Obama administration in a tricky political bind.

Late last year, Secretary of State John Kerry said the Muslim Brotherhood “stole” Egypt's Arab Spring revolution, putting him at odds with the White House, which last year called Morsi’s election a “milestone” in Egypt's road to democracy.

The administration announced a freeze in advanced military sales to the country after the military deposed Morsi in July and violently cracked down on his supporters, but declined to label the ousting a “coup,” which would provoke further restrictions on aid to the country.