Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, August 2013
278 Egyptians Killed, Thousands Injured in Police Crack Down on Pro-Morsi Protesters, August 14, 2013
Egypt rocked by deadly day of violence
The death toll from a government assault on pro-Morsi camps on Wednesday climbed to 278, health officials said, as the army set in place a curfew and a state of emergency in most of the country.
By FRANCE 24 (text), August 14, 2014
At least 235 people were killed in Egypt on Wednesday as security forces raided two protest camps organized by supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, triggering a wave of violence across the country.
A health official said 235 people died in the clashes, including 43 policemen. Earlier the health ministry put the death toll at 278. More than 2,000 people were also injured in one of the bloodiest days in Egypt’s recent history.
The police and army struggled for over 10 hours to completely clear the Cairo encampments, where members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood had entrenched themselves for weeks demanding his return to power.
Most of the casualties were in the Egyptian capital, but at least 15 people were killed in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia Dead in Suez, while ten others died in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, according to medical sources.
Two journalists, including a cameraman working for SkyNews who was at one of the two Cairo camps, were also among the victims, their employers said.
Meanwhile, seven Coptic churches were burned in apparent retaliation for the assault on the Muslim Brotherhood.
The ruling army also declared a one-month state of emergency and imposed a nighttime curfew that started at 9pm local time.
Speaking in a televised speech Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said no sit-ins would be tolerated in the future and praised police for exercising “self-restraint”.
Widespread international condemnation
Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, resigned in protest over the assaults, saying violence could have been avoided.
The deadly crackdown sparked widespread condemnation by the international community.
US Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned the violence, saying it had dealt a “serious blow” to political reconciliation efforts between the military-backed interim government and Morsi supporters.
However, the US State Department signaled no change in its generous aid programme to the country.
Turkey and Iran called the crackdown a “massacre” of peaceful protesters.
The Muslim Brotherhood has reportedly called on supporters to protest across the country in response to today's assault.
Hundreds killed in Egyptian clashes
The death toll from a government assault on pro-Morsi camps on Wednesday climbed to 278, health officials said, as the army set in place a curfew and a state of emergency in most of the country. Follow developments on FRANCE 24's live blog.
By FRANCE 24 (text)
Egyptian security forces cleared supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi from two protest camps in Cairo in a deadly raid launched early Wednesday morning.
The crackdown triggered violence in cities across the country. At least 149 people died in clashes across Egypt on Wednesday and at least 1,400 others were injured.
Nobel peace prize laureate Mohammed ElBaradei resigned from his post as interim vice president in the wake of the crackdown, saying the government could have avoided the violence.
France, Britain and the United States as well as the United Nations have condemned the security forces' assault on the pro-Morsi camps.
State of emergency declared as Egypt erupts in unrest
Egypt declared a month-long state of emergency after at least 56 people died in clashes Wednesday as security forces moved in to dismantle two protest camps in Cairo where ousted president Mohammed Morsi's supporters have been demanding his return.
The Egyptian presidency declared a one-month-long state of emergency and has ordered the armed forces to help enforce security, state TV reported on Wednesday, following clashes that erupted as security forces moved to dismantle protest camps in Cairo where supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi have been calling for his reinstatement.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said through a spokesman that he condemned the violence used by Egyptian security forces "in the strongest terms" and urged all Egyptians to work toward "genuinely inclusive reconciliation".
Egyptian forces, backed by armoured cars and bulldozers, moved in after dawn to clear two Cairo protest camps where demonstrators have been gathered for weeks to call for the return of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, spraying protesters with tear gas as the sound of gunfire rang out, state television and security officials said.
An Egyptian Health Ministry official told AP that 56 people had been killed in clashes across the country.
Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood – the Islamist group from which Morsi hails – said on Twitter that as many as 2,000 people were killed and more than 10,000 injured in the crackdown.
Sky News said one of its cameraman had been killed in the unrest. The network's correspondent Tom Rayner reported "scenes of utter chaos and huge numbers of dead" from inside Rabaa mosque, adding that the "field hospitals were full of bodies and extreme injuries".
Egyptian-American Mohamed Soltan said that journalists in the crowd and on the stage had been fired upon. "2 cameramen shot on stage right in front of me, more volunteers risk their lives so the world can watch us get killed," he wrote on Twitter.
An AP television journalist at the larger of the two camps said he could hear the screams of women as a cloud of white smoke hung over the site in the eastern Cairo suburb of Nasr City. He said a bulldozer was removing sand bags and brick walls built by the protesters as a defence line in their camp. Army troops, however, were not taking part in the operation.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood urged Egyptians to take to the streets in their thousands to denounce the "massacre".
"This is not an attempt to disperse, but a bloody attempt to crush all voices of opposition to the military coup," Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad said on Twitter.
FRANCE 24's correspondent Kathryn Stapley in Cairo
The Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp, where several Brotherhood leaders are staying, "is calling on Egyptians to take to the streets to stop the massacre", Haddad said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was "deeply concerned by the escalating violence" and was "disappointed that compromise has not been possible".
The simultaneous actions by the Egyptian forces – at the pro-Morsi encampment in Nasr City and at the site outside the main campus of Cairo University on the other side of the Egyptian capital – began shortly after 7am.
Helicopters hovered over the two sites as plumes of smoke rose over the city skyline.
Regional television networks showed images of collapsed tents and burning tyres at both sites, with ambulances on standby at the scene. They also showed protesters being arrested and led away by the troops.
At one point, state television showed footage of some dozen protesters, mostly bearded, cuffed and sitting on a sidewalk under guard outside the Cairo University campus.
A television feed by a pro-Morsi station showed thousands of protesters gathered at the centre of the Nasr City site, with many covering their faces against the tear gas. Most of the protesters at the other camp fled to the nearby Orman botanical gardens and inside the sprawling university campus.
At least 250 people have died in clashes in Egypt following Morsi's July 3 ouster in a military coup that followed days of mass protests by millions of Egyptians calling for his removal.
"The world cannot sit back and watch while innocent men, women and children are being indiscriminately slaughtered. The world must stand up to the military junta's crime before it is too late,'' said a statement by the Muslim Brotherhood.
More than 200 dead after Egypt forces crush protest camps
By Yasmine Saleh and Tom Finn
Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:17pm EDT
CAIRO (Reuters) -
Egyptian security forces crushed the protest camps of thousands of supporters of the deposed Islamist president on Wednesday, shooting almost 200 of them dead in the bloodiest day in decades and polarizing the Arab world's most populous nation.
At least 235 people were killed in all, including at least 43 police, and 2,000 wounded, a health official said, in fierce clashes that spread beyond Cairo to towns and cities around Egypt. Deposed president Mohamed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood said the death toll of what it called a "massacre" was far higher.
While bodies wrapped in carpets were carried to a makeshift morgue near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the army-backed rulers declared a one-month state of emergency, restoring to the military the unfettered power it wielded for decades before a pro-democracy uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said 43 police were among the dead. Security forces had completely cleared two protest camps in the capital and would not tolerate any further sit-ins, he said, vowing to restore Mubarak-era security.
Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi defended the use of force, condemned by the United States and European governments, saying the authorities had no choice but to act to end "the spread of anarchy".
"We found that matters had reached a point that no self-respecting state could accept," he said in a televised address.
The authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Cairo and several other cities including Alexandria, Egypt's second city on the Mediterranean coast.
The use of force prompted Mohamed ElBaradei, a former U.N. diplomat and the most prominent liberal supporter of Mursi's overthrow, to resign as vice president, saying the conflict could have been resolved by peaceful means.
"The beneficiaries of what happened today are those call for violence, terrorism and the most extreme groups," he said.
Thousands of Mursi's supporters had been camped at two major sites in Cairo since before he was toppled on July 3, and had vowed not to leave the streets until he was returned to power.
The assault, ending a six-week stand-off, defied international pleas for restraint and a negotiated political solution. Straddling the Suez Canal, a vital global trade route, Egypt is a key U.S. ally at the heart of the Middle East and was the first Arab state to make peace with Israel.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon all deplored the use of force and called for the state of emergency to be lifted as soon as possible.
A U.S. official told Reuters that Washington was considering cancelling the biennial "Bright Star" joint military exercise with Egypt, due this year, after the latest violence, in what would be a direct snub to the Egyptian armed forces.
Violence rippled out from Cairo, with Mursi supporters and security forces clashing in the cities of Alexandria, Minya, assiut, Fayoum and Suez and in Buhayra and Beni Suef provinces.
The bloodshed also effectively ended for now the open political role of the Brotherhood, with the harshest crackdown on a movement that survived underground for 85 years to emerge after the 2011 uprising and win every election held since.
Security officials initially said senior Brotherhood figures Mohamed El-Beltagi and Essam El-Erian had been arrested, joining Mursi himself and other Brotherhood leaders in jail, but later acknowledged they had not been captured. Beltagi's 17-year-old daughter was among the dead.
Beltagi warned of wider conflict, and urged people to take to the streets to oppose the head of the armed forces, who deposed Mursi on July 3 following mass protests.
"I swear by God that if you stay in your homes, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will embroil this country so that it becomes Syria. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will push this nation to a civil war so that he escapes the gallows."
ElBaradei's political movement, the anti-Islamist National Salvation Front, did not share his qualms, declaring that "Egypt has held its head high in the sky announcing victory over political groups that abuse religion".
Since Mursi was toppled, the security forces had twice before killed scores of protesters in attempts to drive Mursi's followers off the streets. But they had held back from a full-scale assault on the tented camp where followers and their families have lived behind makeshift barricades.
After the assault on the camp began, desperate residents recited Koranic verses and screamed "God help us! God help us!" while helicopters hovered overhead and armored bulldozers ploughed over their makeshift defenses.
Reuters journalists on the scene saw masked police in dark uniforms pour out of police vans with sticks and tear gas canisters. They tore down tents and set them ablaze.
"They smashed through our walls. Police and soldiers, they fired tear gas at children," said Saleh Abdulaziz, 39, a secondary school teacher clutching a bleeding wound on his head.
DEAD BODIES, SMASHED SKULLS
After shooting with live ammunition began, wounded and dead lay on the streets among pools of blood. An area of the camp that had been a playground and art exhibition for the children of protesters was turned into a war-zone field hospital.
Seven dead bodies were lined up in the street, one of them a teenager whose skull was smashed, with blood pouring from the back of his head.
At another location in Cairo, a Reuters reporter was in a crowd of Mursi supporters when he heard bullets whizzing past and hitting walls. The crowd dived to the ground for cover. A man was killed by a bullet to the head.
The government insists people in the camp were armed. Television stations controlled by the state or its sympathizers ran footage of what appeared to be pro-Mursi protesters firing rifles at soldiers from behind sandbag barricades.
Reuters journalists and other Western media did not witness such incidents. The crowds appeared to be armed mainly with sticks, stones and concrete slabs against police and troops with rifles.
The violence was the worst in Egypt since war with Israel in 1973 and forces tough decisions upon Egypt's Western allies, especially Washington, which funds Egypt's military with $1.5 billion a year and has so far refused to label the army's overthrow of Mursi a "coup".
"The United States strongly condemns the use of violence against protesters in Egypt," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "We extend our condolences to the families of those who have been killed, and to the injured. We have repeatedly called on the Egyptian military and security forces to show restraint."
"We also strongly oppose a return to a State of Emergency law, and call on the government to respect basic human rights such as freedom of peaceful assembly, and due process under the law. The world is watching what is happening in Cairo."
The United States and Europe had pressed hard for Egypt's generals not to crush the demonstrators. A diplomatic effort to open talks between the Brotherhood and the authorities, backed by Washington, Brussels and Arab states, collapsed last week.
Outside of Cairo, state media said Mursi supporters had besieged and set fire to government buildings and attacked several churches. Christians, who make up 10 percent of the population of 85 million, have feared reprisals from Islamists since the Coptic Pope Tawadros endorsed the military takeover.
Among the dead in Cairo were at least two journalists. A Reuters photographer was shot in the foot.
At a makeshift morgue at the camp field hospital, a Reuters reporter counted 29 bodies, with others still arriving. Most had died of gunshot wounds to the head.
A 12-year-old boy, bare-chested with tracksuit trousers, lay out in the corridor, a bullet wound through his neck. His mother was bent over him, rocking back and forth and silently kissing his chest. One of the nurses was sobbing on her hands and knees as she tried to mop up the blood with a roll of tissue.
Adli Mansour, the judge appointed president by the army when it overthrew Egypt's first elected leader on July 3, announced a state of emergency for one month and called on the armed forces to help police enforce security. Rights activists said the move would give legal cover for the army to make arrests.
Turkey urged the U.N. Security Council and Arab League to act quickly to stop a "massacre" in Egypt. Iran warned of the risk of civil war. The European Union and several of its member countries deplored the killings.
Mursi became Egypt's first freely elected leader in June 2012, but failed to tackle a deep economic malaise and worried many Egyptians with apparent efforts to tighten Islamist rule.
Liberals and young Egyptians staged huge rallies demanding that he resign, and the army said it had removed him in response to the will of the people. Since he was deposed, Gulf Arab states have pledged $12 billion in aid, buying the interim government valuable time to try to put its finances back in order.
By late afternoon, the campsite where Mursi's supporters had maintained their vigil for six weeks was empty. One man stood alone in the wreckage reciting the central tenet of Islam through a loudspeaker: "There is no God but Allah."
He wept, and then his voice broke off into silence.
(Additional reporting by Michael Georgy, Tom Perry, Shadia Nasralla, Omar Fahmy and Ashraf Fahim in Cairo, Adrian Croft in Brussels and Carolyn Cohn in London; Writing by Peter Graff and Paul Taylor) For an interactive look at Egypt in crisis, please click on link.reuters.com/quw49t
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the
use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this
constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for
in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
Section 107, the material on this site is
distributed without profit to those
who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information
for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of
your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.
firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com