Scores killed in a ‘Day of Rage’

Weekend Witness - - News -

CAIRO — Mus­lim Brother­hood protests plunged into vi­o­lence across Egypt yes­ter­day, with around 50 killed in Cairo alone on a “Day of Rage” called by Is­lamist fol­low­ers of ousted Pres­i­dent Mo­hamed Mursi to de­nounce a po­lice crack­down.

Au­to­matic gun­fire echoed across Cairo and black smoke bil­lowed from the cap­i­tal’s huge Ram­ses Square, a mil­i­tary he­li­copter hov­er­ing low over­head look­ing down on the chaos.

A Reuters wit­ness saw the bod­ies of 27 peo­ple, ap­par­ently hit by gun­fire and bird­shot, wrapped in white sheets in a mosque. A Reuters pho­tog­ra­pher said se­cu­rity forces opened fire from nu­mer­ous di­rec­tions when a po­lice sta­tion was at­tacked.

At least 20 peo­ple died in clashes else­where in Egypt.

The vi­o­lence fol­lowed Wed­nes­day’s as­sault by se­cu­rity forces on two Brother­hood sit-ins in Cairo that left hun­dreds dead, as the mil­i­tary-backed govern­ment tried to end weeks of tur­bu­lence that has pushed the Ar- ab world’s most pop­u­lous state to the brink of disas­ter.

Western gov­ern­ments urged re­straint and Ger­many cau­tioned the new govern­ment that it was re­view­ing its ties. By con­trast, Saudi Ara­bia’s King Ab­dul­lah said his coun­try stood with Egypt in its bat­tle against “ter­ror­ism”.

The army de­ployed ar­moured ve­hi­cles on ma­jor roads around the cap­i­tal and the In­te­rior Min­istry said po­lice would use live am­mu­ni­tion against any­one threat­en­ing pub­lic build­ings.

“Sooner or later I will die. Bet­ter to die for my rights than in my bed. Guns don’t scare us any­more,” said Sara Ahmed (28), a busi­ness man­ager who joined the demon­stra­tors in Cairo.

“I’s not about the Brother­hood, it’s about hu­man rights,” said Ahmed.

Anger on the streets was di­rected at army com­man­der Gen­eral Ab­del Fat­tah alSisi, who moved against Mursi last month af­ter mas­sive street ral­lies against his ad­min­is­tra­tion that had been dogged by ac­cu­sa­tions of in­com­pe­tence and par­ti­san­ship. “The peo­ple want the butcher ex­e­cuted,” said Mustafa Ibrahim (37), re­fer­ring to Sisi, as he marched with a crowd of sev­eral thou­sand on down­town Cairo un­der blaz­ing sum­mer sun.

Emer­gency ser­vices said eight pro­test­ers were killed in clashes in the Mediter­ranean town of Dami­etta, five in Fay­oum south of Cairo, four in the Suez Canal city of Is­mailia and four in the Nile delta town of Tanta. One per­son was killed in Alexan­dria, Egypt’s sec­ond city.

The Brother­hood ac­cuses the mil­i­tary of stag­ing a coup when it ousted Mursi on July 3. Lib­eral and youth ac­tivists who backed the mil­i­tary saw the move as a pos­i­tive re­sponse to pub­lic de­mands.

But some fear Egypt is turn­ing back into the kind of po­lice state that kept the dis­graced Hosni Mubarak in power for 30 years be­fore his re­moval in 2011, as se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions re­cover their con­fi­dence and re­assert con­trol. — Reuters.

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