Over 100 Morsi supporters reported killed in Egypt
Muslim Brotherhood claims security services opened fire on peaceful Cairo vigil
A police officer aims a shotgun at supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi during clashes in Nasr city area, east of Cairo, this morning. Photograph: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
Supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi throw stones from behind a makeshift barricade they built as they take cover from the police during clashes this morning in Nasr city area, east of Cairo. Photograph: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
Supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi stand on a barricade built to separate them from police during clashes in Nasr city area, east of Cairo. Photograph: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
Egyptian security forces shot dead dozens of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi today, witnesses said, days after the army chief called for a popular mandate to wipe out “violence and terrorism”.
Men in helmets and black police fatigues fired on crowds gathered before dawn on the fringes of a round-the-clock sit-in near a mosque in northeast Cairo, Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood said. A Muslim Brotherhood website said 120 people had been killed and some 4,500 injured. A Reuters reporter counted 36 bodies at one morgue, while health officials said there were a further 21 corpses in two nearby hospitals.
“They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill,” said Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad. “The bullet wounds are in the head and chest.”
Activists rushed blood-spattered casualties into a makeshift hospital, some were carried in on planks or blankets. One ashen teenager was laid out on the floor, a bullet hole in his head.
Egypt’s army-installed interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim told reporters only 21 had died and denied police had opened fire, accusing the Brotherhood of exaggerating for political ends.
Mr Ibrahim said local residents living close to the Rabaa al-Adawia mosque vigil had clashed with protesters in the early hours after they had blocked off a major road bridge. He said tpolice had used teargas to try to break up the fighting.
Over 200 people have been killed in violence since the army toppled Mr Morsi on July 3rd, following huge protests against his year in power. The army denies accusations it staged a coup, saying it intervened to prevent national chaos.
The Arab world’s most populous state is battling economic woes and struggling with the transition to democracy two years after Hosni Mubarak was swept from power in the Arab Spring.
Mr Ibrahim also said Mr Morsi, who has not been seen in public since his removal from power, was likely to be transferred shortly to the same Cairo prison where former leader Mubarak is now held.
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians had poured onto the streets yesterday in response to a call by army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for nationwide demonstrations to give him backing to confront the weeks-long wave of violence.
His appeal was seen as a challenge to the Brotherhood, which organised its own rallies yesterday calling for the return of Mr Morsi, who has been held in an undisclosed location since his ousting and faces a raft of charges, including murder.
Brotherhood leaders appealed for calm today, but activists at the Rabaa al-Adawia mosque vigil voiced fury.
“The people want the execution of Sisi,” a cleric shouted to the crowd from a stage by the mosque. “The people want the execution of the butcher.”
Mr Ibrahim said the pro-Morsi sit-ins would “God willing, soon ... be dealt with” based on a decision by a public prosecutor, who is reviewing complaints from local residents unhappy with the huge encampment on their doorstep.