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The Battle for Egypt

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Egypt Continues to Burn as Scores are Killed

August 16th 2013

Muslim Brotherhood bus burning 10 2012

Scores of people have been killed in Egypt as a "day of rage" called by opponents of the country's military-backed leadership turned to bloodshed with security forces opening fire to foil what they described as a "brutal terrorist plot". In the worst of the violence on Friday, at least 95 people were killed and hundreds injured in Cairo's Ramses Square as anti-coup protesters were fired on by government forces. A correspondent for Al Jazeera described lines of bodies in a makeshift hospital in the nearby Al-Fath mosque.

A protester, Said Mohammed, told Al Jazeera that the crowds were shot at by snipers and by men in helicopters. "Helicopters started to shoot us as we were walking. My friend took a shot in the neck and he died," he said. "This was the first time we saw helicopters shooting. There were people shooting from the windows."

Earlier on October 6 bridge near Ramses Square, a protester called Ahmed Tohami told Al Jazeera that there was "blood in the streets" as police fired tear gas and bullets at marchers, as what sounded like the crack of gunfire could be heard in the background.

"Men, young ladies, old women, under attack. The kids here on the bridge - we are under attack... there is no way down. Hundreds of thousands of us are on the bridge. They are attacking us from the front, they are attacking us from behind. We have nowhere to go," he said live on Al Jazeera. Also in Cairo, Reuters and AP news agencies reported that residents had blocked roads and clashed with anti-coup protesters as they tried to march through their areas. Ambulances carrying injured from the Ramses Square clash were also forced back.

Elsewhere, the Reuters news agency said eight protesters had been killed in the city of Damietta, while four were killed in the Egyptian city of Ismailia, notheast of Cairo. In Alexandria, seven people were reported dead in clashes between pro- and anti-coup supporters. Al Jazeera's Jane Ferguson reported bands of men armed with batons and machetes on the streets as night fell. The Muslim Brotherhood and other groups, under the banner of the Anti-Coup Alliance, had called for the protests after Friday prayers in support of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi and in defiance of a military crackdown on sit-in demonstrations that left hundreds dead on August 14.

In a statement, the Egyptian Army said it had deployed forces along all main roads and squares, and were ready to intervene "in case there is any imminent threat that violates the people's security".

A curfew came into effect at 5pm GMT, with authorities warning "firm action" against anyone who broke it. The Anti Coup Alliance said its protests had ended at 7pm GMT.

The Interior Ministry had earlier ordered its forces to use live ammunition when dealing with any attacks on security forces or building institutions, citing its legal right to defence.

In a statement, the interim Cabinet asserted that the government, the police and the "great Egyptian forces" stood together in the face of a "brutal terrorist plot" by the "Brotherhood organisation". It added that it stood against "terrorist elements" and "outlaws".

The Muslim Brotherhood condemned the latest violence, saying the coup leaders had "lost their minds" and were devoid of ethics and values. It said the coup has failed, and it was time for the leaders to accept that.

It called for a week of daily marches in defiance of the government's state of emergency and curfew.


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