(MENAFN - Arab News) On Sunday, a group of Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) members of Parliament went to the frontlines in Cairo to mediate an end to four days of violence between police and protesters.
The Muslim Brotherhood's political wing could do nothing to stop the violence, with police breaking the tentative truce shortly after night fell on Sunday, sending barrage of tear gas down upon protesters, who had maintained their positions in central Cairo streets. Birdshot and rubber bullets also rained down upon activists, injuring dozens over hours of battles.
The MPs implored protesters to return to Tahrir Square, echoing the statement earlier in the day from Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who called on demonstrators to move from the inner streets of downtown Cairo and back to the iconic square. The MPs were unsuccessful to push the activists away from the massive stonewalls that had been erected the day before, which ostensibly split the protesters and the police.
Only a short while later, the clashes began again in earnest. The sounds of tear gas attacks reverberating across downtown Cairo. Violence had returned. Parliament, since violence the Wednesday at a football match in Port Said left 75 people dead and hundreds injured, sparking the unrest in the country, has been impotent at best.
Calling on protesters to end the violence seems odd, considering the Parliament is the government, elected by the people and supposedly, serving the people. Instead, MPs have eluded to "invisible" hands and repeatedly called on the protesters, the ones being attacked with tear gas, rubber bullets and birdshot, to remain calm.
Emergency sessions have been held, televised across the country, but they have done little to wield any real power. The "war of words" continues, putting blame on outside forces, has shown that Parliament remains at the calling of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The protesters are demanding the end to military rule over the country and handing of power to a civilian government, led by the popularly elected Parliament, which began Jan. 23.
Even on MP, Mohamed Abu Hamed, when holding up a gun shell that was fired by the Ministry of Interior, was screamed down in session by an Islamist MP, who quoted the Qur'an and told him to "investigate" the matter. Parliament, it seems, is attempting to support the Interior Ministry's lies that they did not use bullets against protesters, despite Abu Hamed's evidence and the injured.
When Speaker of Parliament Saad El-Katatni interrupted Abu Hamed and said that Minister Ibrahim had told him there were no bullets used in the clashes, more applause erupted. Katatni, the FJP MP and the Muslim Brotherhood appear ready, and willing, to acquiesce to the military and police line in the battles. But it is creating a backlash and anger. By Monday late afternoon, Egyptians were angry at Parliament and were beginning, once again, to take to the streets. Clashes appear inevitable. With the majority of Parliament toting the SCAF line, there is little hope that any real, viable change is coming.
Speaking to activists in downtown Cairo over the past five days of clashes, it has become clear that those on the ground give little weight to the elected legislation. The protesters are demanding an end to the military junta, an end to injustice and a move to civilian rule - the same demands as the January 2011 uprising yet unfulfilled.
The Parliament should be demanding an end to the use of any force from the Ministry of Interior, they should be supporting the popular will of the minority, instead of presumably throwing their support around a military council that has murdered and maimed hundreds of Egyptians since they took power on Feb. 11, 2011.
One protester, a 41-year-old handyman from Aswan, told me as a truce held - only to be broken a few hours later - on Saturday at the frontlines in downtown Cairo that he had voted in the parliamentary elections, but now he wished he had boycotted.
"What are they doing now? I think they are just talking and trying to win the support of the military while we die and fight for Egypt and our country," he said.
Across the city, in cafes and in Tahrir, average Egyptians, not the protesters facing off against a police with tear gas and bullets, but everyday people who had been antagonistic toward the protests that had taken place over the past 6 months in downtown, are changing their perception of the powers that be.
The Parliament has done little, if anything, to bring any sort of action to the table during the recent unrest. Blame continues to be put on others, instead of tackling the issues that have caused the unrest in the first place. The military must go, but as we have seen, or not seen, Egypt's Parliament remains unable to make any inroads into the hegemony on power, and violence, that the military and its security forces have on the country.
For Egypt to make the next move in its transition to democracy, human rights and justice, the country's elected body must take a stand. They must show they are willing to act for the people. This is what they were elected to do, and as at least 12 people have been killed and thousands injured in the recent street battles with police, they must call, publicly and without equivocation, that the military must go. This is what Egyptians, protesters or not, have been demanding for months.