CAIRO – The funeral of a young supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s Nile Delta is illustrating the deep divisions gripping the Arab world’s most populous country following a decree granting President Mohamed Morsi sweeping powers.
"A boy got killed for nothing,” Doaa Abdallah, a housewife and Brotherhood supporter, told Reuters.
“What is all this is for? What did the Brotherhood or the president do?"
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Islam Massoud, 15, was killed Sunday in the Nile Delta town of Damanhour when he got out to support President Morsi.
His death was the first fatality in a wave of protests and violence between opponents and supporters of President Mors.
The latest turmoil was set off by a decree issued by Morsi last week that expanded his powers temporarily and prevented court challenges to his decisions.
Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets across Egypt Friday to protest the decree, calling on Morsi to rescind the decision.
Morsi defended his decree as an effort to speed up reforms that will complete Egypt's democratic transformation.
The division between Morsi’s supporters and opponents were evident during the young boy’s funeral.
While thousands of mourners attended the funeral, the streets surrounding the town square were festooned with banners proclaiming opposition to the Islamists.
"No to the Brotherhood," said one banner, a slogan also written on walls in Damanhour, 135 km (85 miles) north of Cairo.
Watching the funeral on Monday, onlookers openly aired anti-Morsi feelings.
"Of course we are all very sad about the violence happening in our town and which led to the death of a boy," said Ahmed Kheirallah, 29, who was watching the funeral.
"We reject all that. But we also reject Morsi's dictatorship decisions."
But supporters defended Morsi’s decree.
"This is our president, our master, and we should all obey him,” said Abdallah, who marched with other women separately from the men in the procession.
“Those who engage in such violence are nothing but a group of feloul, thugs and Godless people.”
Mohamed Nassar, a member of an Islamist group, echoed a similar support.
"The liberal opposition will do anything to stop Egypt from becoming what it should be and was always meant to be: an Islamic state."
Since Hosni Mubarak was ousted, non-Islamist parties have been struggling to get organised, helping the Brotherhood to do so well in the elections.
But new political parties including one set up by leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi say they are starting to make their presence felt.
Yousef Khaddam, an activist in Sabahi's movement, forecast a big turnout for the anti-Morsi rally in Cairo."We are seeing a lot of support in Damanhour," he said.
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