The military crackdown will undoubtedly harm the economy further. But several people working in Cairo’s downtown shops said they supported the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed by the military-backed interim government.
“Of course we are OK with it,” said Hosny, whose cafe has lost half its business. “We want the country to be fixed.”
The economy was not the only reason that Egyptians felt betrayed by Morsi. Crime rose as Mubarak’s police force melted away. And the longtime autocrat’s removal cleared the way for constant, sometimes bloody, protests by workers, political groups and others, snarling traffic and harming businesses.
The coup against Morsi sparked even more chaos and violence, with security forces raiding protest camps and Islamists attacking churches, police and military targets. Many accuse the Islamists of provoking the violence, citing inflammatory television reports alleging that they have been stockpiling weapons and planning terrorist attacks.
“There’s nobody in Egypt not in danger,” said Mohammed al-Laban, 43, a chauffeur for a private company, who was sitting at Hosny’s cafe.
For upper-class Egyptians and many secular middle-class families, the Islamists threatened the lifestyles that they had come to enjoy under Mubarak.
Morsi’s government failed to put in place any strict Islamic legislation. But men who let their daughters drive cars or walk around without head scarves felt as if they were being judged, said Hamdeen Sabahi, a secularist politician who ran against Morsi and others in the presidential election.
“Maybe it wasn’t a noticeable factor, but it was very harmful for many Egyptians,” he said.
For opponents of the Brotherhood, it has been easy to demonize the group. They have tapped into decades of government propaganda alleging that the organization has shadowy terrorist ties.
Egyptian television and newspapers, parroting the new government’s narrative, have propagated elaborate conspiracy theories connecting the group to foreign agents, massacres and evil plots. One widely circulating theory holds that the United States had backed Morsi to divide Egypt and weaken its military.
When the military did step in, it meant “that our army stood with our people against such a conspiracy,” Sabahi said.
“It doesn’t matter whether this was fact or illusion,” he said. “But it is a fact that most Egyptians believed it.”
Morsi’s supporters seem stunned by the dramatic plunge in his popularity just one year into his four-year term.
“They waited 30 years for Mubarak, but they couldn’t wait another three for Morsi,” said Hoda Mokhtar, 43, a homemaker in a brown veil and robe who stood outside the Supreme Constitutional Court building on a recent day, waiting to join a demonstration by Morsi supporters. As she spoke to a reporter, she was quickly surrounded by several Morsi opponents, who shouted “Liar!”
One of the scores of police officers guarding the building approached and snarled at her to leave.
“You see the democracy?” she said.
To Morsi’s supporters, it’s far from it. But to much of the nation, the approach is a popular one. Democracy has come to mean getting rid of unpopular leaders, with or without elections.
“I really think this will happen again,” said Mustafa Fawzi, a quality-control worker from Alexandria who said he wished that Morsi had got to serve his full term. “We will have a president for one year, people will get fed up again, and we’ll have a coup.”
Sharaf al-Hourani and Lara El Gibaly contributed to this report.