DAY OF SOR­ROW

Egyp­tians mourn at a mosque in Cairo where bod­ies are laid on Thurs­day fol­low­ing a crack­down on sup­port­ers of ousted pres­i­dent Mo­hammed Morsi.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - PHOTO BY MAH­MOUD KHALED / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Egyp­tian troops were de­ployed across Cairo on Fri­day with the streets al­most de­serted as res­i­dents braced for new Is­lamist protests, just two days af­ter nearly 600 peo­ple were killed.

Soldiers manned road­blocks on ma­jor thor­ough­fares, clos­ing off some of them with ar­mored per­son­nel car­ri­ers as sup­port­ers of ousted pres­i­dent Mo­hammed Morsi called for a “Fri­day of anger”.

Egypt’s army and po­lice will deal firmly with any vi­o­la­tion of the law, state tele­vi­sion re­ported.

At least 623 peo­ple died and thou­sands were wounded on Wed­nes­day when po­lice cleared out two protest camps in Cairo set up to de­nounce the mil­i­tary over­throw on July 3 of Egypt’s first freely elected pres­i­dent, Is­lamist leader Morsi.

It was the third mass killing of Morsi’s sup­port­ers since his ouster. The as­sault left his Mus­lim Brother­hood in dis­ar­ray, but it said it would not re­treat in its show­down with army com­man­der Gen­eral Ab­del Fat­tah al-Sisi.

“Af­ter the blows and ar­rests and killings that we are fac­ing, emo­tions are too high to be guided by any­one,” said Brother­hood spokesman Ge­had El-Had­dad.

Res­i­dents of some ar­eas formed their own road­blocks, check­ing iden­tity pa­pers and search­ing cars.

The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity ex­pressed grave con­cern, with the pres­i­dent of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil plead­ing for “max­i­mum re­straint” af­ter an emer­gency meet­ing on the vi­o­lence.

The Euro­pean Union said top of­fi­cials would hold an emer­gency meet­ing on the sit­u­a­tion in Egypt, where the army- in­stalled govern­ment has im­posed a na­tion­wide state of emer­gency and night­time cur­fews in 14 prov­inces.

Spo­radic vi­o­lence con­tin­ued through­out the coun­try in the form of at­tacks on se­cu­rity per­son­nel, with 13 killed in the Si­nai Penin­sula in 24 hours.

Ge­had al-Had­dad, a Mus­lim Brother­hood spokesman, an­nounced Fri­day’s marches on his Twit­ter ac­count.

“Anti- coup ral­lies ... will de­part from all mosques of Cairo and head to­ward Ram­sis Square af­ter (noon) prayer in ‘Fri­day of Anger’,” he wrote.

Laila Moussa, a spokes­woman for the Anti- Coup Al­liance of Is­lamist groups op­pos­ing Morsi’s ouster, said sim­i­lar protests were planned across the coun­try.

She said Morsi loy­al­ists, in­clud­ing at least two for­mer mem­bers of par­lia­ment, had been ar­rested in dawn raids ahead of the protests.

On Thurs­day, Ta­marod, the protest group that or­ga­nized op­po­si­tion to Morsi’s rule, also urged Egyp­tians to take to the streets.

It said they should turn out on Fri­day “to re­ject do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism and for­eign in­ter­fer­ence”.

The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity ex­pressed grave con­cern, with the EU an­nounc­ing top rep­re­sen­ta­tives from all 28 mem­ber states would meet on Mon­day.

France said Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande would dis­cuss the cri­sis with Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron and Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, whose govern­ment is­sued a fresh con­dem­na­tion of the vi­o­lence.

On Thurs­day, the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil held an emer­gency meet­ing on Egypt, with its pres­i­dent, Ar­gen­tine ambassador Maria Cristina Perce­val, call­ing for an end to the vi­o­lence and un­der­lin­ing the need for “national rec­on­cil­i­a­tion”.

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama said on Thurs­day that Wash­ing­ton was can­cel­ing a joint US- Egyp­tian mil­i­tary ex­er­cise.

Af­ter the blows and ar­rests and killings that we are fac­ing, emo­tions are too high to be guided by any­one.” GE­HAD EL-HAD­DAD MUS­LIM BROTHER­HOOD SPOKESMAN

“While we want to sus­tain our re­la­tion­ship with Egypt, our tra­di­tional co­op­er­a­tion can­not con­tinue as usual when civil­ians are be­ing killed in the streets and rights are be­ing rolled back,” he said.

The US State Depart­ment warned cit­i­zens not to travel to Egypt and called on those al­ready there to leave.

Egypt’s pres­i­dency re­sponded de­fi­antly to Obama’s re­marks, warn­ing that “state­ments not based on facts may en­cour­age vi­o­lent armed groups”.

“The pres­i­dency ap­pre­ci­ates US con­cern for de­vel­op­ments in Egypt, but it wished it could have clar­i­fied mat­ters,” said the state­ment car­ried by the of­fi­cial MENA news agency.

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