CAIRO — One week after Egypt's military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, his followers in the Muslim Brotherhood are under siege and struggling, with no clear strategy to find a way back into the political arena.
The political wing of the movement Wednesday rejected any role in the interim government now being assembled or in the elections that are to follow in the next six months. A spokesman said the Brotherhood is hoping that nationwide protests will somehow return Egypt's first-ever democratically elected leader to power.
"They will collapse within days," said Mohamed Zidan, a spokesman for the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, speaking of the interim government headed by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, 76, a former finance minister. As for Morsi's supporters, "Our first reaction will be in the streets and the squares. We are not going to leave the squares for one day, for one week, for our lives."
Morsi, his powerful deputy, Khairat el-Shaiter, and four other senior associates are now under arrest, and the newly named state's attorney on Wednesday issued arrest warrants for nine others, including Mohammed Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme leader. Government officials said none was immediately arrested, however.
Egypt's prosecutor-general ordered 206 people held for further investigation following a clash between the military and Morsi backers at the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo in which at least 55 people died. Another 446 were released on bail.
In another development, Kuwait became the latest Gulf Arab state to throw its support behind the new military-backed government, pledging $4 billion in aid and fuel, in addition to the $8 billion promised Tuesday by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Zidan said Morsi's future "is not negotiable."
He said the protests will remain peaceful but that Morsi's backers are ready to die.
"I don't want to live this life without democracy," he told McClatchy.