Pro-Morsi protesters march and yell in Cairo 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
CAIRO - Egyptian security forces shot dead dozens of supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday, 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, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement said.
The bloodshed, near the military parade ground where President Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981, plunged the Arab world's most populous country deeper into turmoil following two turbulent years of transition to democracy since veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak was swept from power.
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.
Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Aref said 66 people had been killed and another 61 were "brain dead" on life support machines. More than 4,000 were treated for the effects of tear gas and gunshot or birdshot wounds, he told reporters.
"Innocent blood was spilled," he said. "We have gone back 10 years."
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