Scores killed in 'Day of Rage' demonstrations in Egypt

95 reported killed in Cairo, more lose lives across country.

By REUTERS
August 16, 2013 23:30
A soldier holds his weapon as he stands on an APC in Cairo, August 16, 2013.

Egypt soldier on tank 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Wednesday's bloodshed 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.

"Pain and sorrow"

A Brotherhood statement called for a nationwide "march of anger" by millions of supporters on Friday after noon prayers.

"Despite the pain and sorrow over the loss of our martyrs, the latest coup makers' crime has increased our determination to end them," it said.

The Brotherhood accuses the military of staging a coup when it ousted Morsi. 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 Mubarak in power for 30 years, as security institutions recover their confidence and reassert control.

Friday prayers have proved a fertile time for protests during more than two years of unrest across the Arab world.

In calling for a "Friday of anger," the Brotherhood used the same name as that given to the most violent day of the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak. That day, January 28, 2011, marked the protesters' victory over the police, who were forced to retreat while the army was asked to intervene.

A pro-Morsi supporter takes part in a protest near Ennour Mosque in Cairo August 16, 2013. (Reuters)

In a counter-move, a loose liberal and leftist coalition, the National Salvation Front, called on Egyptians to protest on Friday against the Brotherhood's "obvious terrorism actions".

Signalling his displeasure at the worst bloodshed in Egypt for generations, US President Barack Obama said on Thursday normal cooperation with Cairo could not continue and announced the cancellation of military exercises with Egypt next month.

"We deplore violence against civilians. We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest," he said, but stopped short of cutting off the $1.55 billion a year of mostly military US aid to Egypt.

The United States on Thursday told its citizens to leave Egypt due to the unrest. It issued the same advice last month.

The Egyptian presidency issued a statement saying Obama's remarks were not based on "facts" and would strengthen and encourage violent groups that were committing "terrorist acts".

Pro-army groups posted videos on the Internet of policemen they said had been tortured and killed by Islamist militants.

Washington's influence over Cairo has been called into question since Morsi's overthrow. Since then Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have pledged $12 billion in assistance, making them more prominent partners.

Obama's refusal so far to cut off US aid to Egypt suggests he does not wish to alienate the generals despite the scale of the bloodshed in the army's suppression of Morsi supporters.

Egypt will need all the financial support it can get in the coming months as it grapples with growing economic woes, especially in the important tourism sector that accounts for more than 10 percent of gross domestic product.

The United States urged its citizens to leave Egypt on Thursday and two of Europe's biggest tour operators, Germany's TUI and Thomas Cook Germany, said they were cancelling all trips to the country until Sept. 15.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council urged all parties in Egypt to exercise restraint, but did not assign blame.

"The view of council members is that it is important to end violence in Egypt," Argentine UN Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval said after the 15-member council met on the situation.

JPost.com staff contributed to this report.


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