With the Muslim Brotherhood calling for marches in Cairo and other Egyptian cities in a “day of rage” over the deadly crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, there are fears that this week’s body count is going to go even higher, NPR’s Peter Kenyon reports.
From Cairo early on Friday, Peter told Morning Edition host David Greene that there is “a lot of anger and determination on both sides.”
LIVE VIDEO: Reuters is streaming camera coverage from four locations in Egypt.
From ‘Morning Edition’: NPR’s Peter Kenyon, in Cairo, talks with host David Greene
The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters are not only still upset that Morsi was removed from office by the nation’s military last month, but are also furious about Wednesday’s attacks by security forces on those gathered in pro-Morsi sit-ins. The crackdown left more than 600 people dead and nearly 4,000 injured.
Meanwhile, the military and Egypt’s interim government are saying they will use live ammunition against protesters who attack public property or security personnel.
Deadly violence erupted before the sun rose over Cairo on Monday morning at a sit-in by supporters of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, leaving many dead.
Egypt’s health ministry said at least 42 people were killed. A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman said that the death toll included five children.
Egyptian military officials said only five supporters of the now-deposed president were killed, the Associated Press reported, but hundreds — Egypt’s health ministry said 322 — are believed to be injured.
The exact course of events Monday morning remains unclear.
The death toll from clashes Friday and into early Saturday in Egypt now stands at 36, authorities say. That estimate, released just before 11 a.m. ET, was up from the 30 deaths that had been reported when the day began.
More than 1,000 people are said to have been injured during fighting between supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and those who had pressed for his removal from office. Some Morsi supporters were also reportedly killed by gunfire from Egyptian security forces.
NPR’s Leila Fadel tells our Newscast Desk that as Saturday dawned in Tahrir Square, workers were cleaning up debris and there was relative calm. But, as newscaster Giles Snyder says, the Egyptian capital remains very tense — angry Morsi supporters and those who called for his toppling remain camped in different parts of the city. It’s feared they will clash again and that the Egyptian military will use force to restore some order.
As of 2 p.m. ET — early evening Cairo — there were still large crowds of pro- and anti-Morsi Egyptians in the streets, al-Jazeera reported. But things were calmer than they had been during the clashes Friday and early Saturday. Peole in the streets had not yet reacted to the news that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei would become interim prime minister.
Egyptians are reacting to the fast-moving developments in their country, after the army ousted President Mohammed Morsi and put him under house arrest.
The top judge of Egypt’s Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmud Mansour, has been sworn in as interim leader, saying that fresh elections were “the only way” forward, but gave no indication of when they would be held.
Here, Egyptian readers give their reaction to Mr Morsi’s removal and their views on what they think should happen next.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has insisted he will not resign as a deadline to break political deadlock nears and violence threatens to billow as democracy is tested in a region that is vastly changing.
At least 23 people were killed in the Cairo Tuesday in clashes between Morsi’s opponents and supporters, the Associated Press reported. Many of the deaths occurred after gunfire erupted outside Cairo University in Giza, where pro-Morsi demonstrators gathered to show support for the president.
On Monday, the armed forces gave a 48-hour deadline — set to expire today — for politicians to meet the people’s demands or it will implement a “road map” for the nation’s future.
The escalation of violence followed three days of unprecedented unrest that has surged since Sunday, when millions of people clogged Egypt’s streets to demand that Morsi step down amid calls for an early presidential election. The protests then remained largely peaceful.
Protesters stormed and ransacked the Cairo headquarters of President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group early Monday, in an attack that could spark more violence as demonstrators gear up for a second day of mass rallies aimed at forcing the Islamist leader from power.
An Associated Press journalist at the scene said protesters managed to breach the compound’s defenses and storm the six-story building, and later carted off furniture, files, rugs, blankets, air conditioning units and portraits of Morsi. One protester emerged with a pistol and handed it over to a policeman outside.
Footage on local TV networks showed smashed windows, blackened walls and smoke billowing out of the fortified villa. A fire was still raging on one floor hours after the building was stormed. One protester tore down the Muslim Brotherhood sign from the building’s front wall, while another hoisted Egypt’s red, black and white flag out an upper-story window and waved it in the air in triumph.
An Egyptian court on Sunday said Muslim Brotherhood members conspired with Hamas, Hezbollah and local militants to storm a prison in 2011 and free 34 Brotherhood leaders, including the future President Mohammed Morsi.
The court statement read by judge Khaled Mahgoub named two members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood - Ibrahim Haggag and Sayed Ayad - to be among the alleged conspirators in the attack on Wadi el-Natroun prison on Jan. 29, 2011.
It is the first statement by a court that holds members of the three Islamist groups - the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Hamas, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah - responsible for a series of jailbreaks during the chaos of Egypt’s 2011 uprising. Two other prisons in which Hamas and Hezbollah members were held were also attacked.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has urged leading opposition figures to attend a “national dialogue” meeting following four days of deadly violence.
Dozens of people have died since a court sentenced 21 people to death over football riots. Anger over Mr Morsi’s rule has fuelled unrest elsewhere.
Mr Morsi declared a state of emergency in Port Said, Suez and Ismalia, and a 21:00 to 06:00 curfew from Monday.
The opposition has yet to announce whether it will attend the talks.
It says the president must address its demands over the recently adopted constitution.
Violence continued on Monday morning, with one man killed by gunfire near Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Egypt’s Islamist-backed constitution received a “yes” majority in a final round of voting on a referendum that saw a low voter turnout, but the deep divisions it has opened up threaten to fuel continued turmoil.
Passage is a victory for Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, but a costly one. The bruising battle over the past month stripped away hope that the long-awaited constitution would bring a national consensus on the path Egypt will take after shedding its autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago.
Instead, Morsi disillusioned many non-Islamists who had once backed him and has become more reliant on his core support in the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. Hard-liners in his camp are determined to implement provisions for stricter rule by Islamic law in the charter, which is likely to further fuel divisions.
Saturday’s voting in 17 of Egypt’s 27 provinces was the second and final round of the referendum. Preliminary results released early Sunday by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood showed that 71.4 percent of those who voted Saturday said “yes” after 95.5 percent of the ballots were counted.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are resorting to vigilante justice in Egypt’s power struggle. During clashes with opponents of President Mohammed Morsi last Wednesday night, the Islamists took prisoners and tortured them with beatings. Eyewitness reports suggest that the police tolerated the attacks.
The Islamists got hold of Mohammed Omar just as he was delivering bandages to a gas station where injured people were being treated. “You’re an enemy of God!” they yelled at him.
“There were five men. They beat me and dragged me away,” says Omar, a computer expert who lives in Cairo. His face is bruised and his eyes are swollen shut, and his wrists are cut from the plastic cuffs they put on him.
They took him to a sort of room consisting on one side of a gate to the presidential palace, with the other walls made up of steel barriers and police officers. Here members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups interrogated and mistreated their “prisoners.”
Mohammed Omar is one of many demonstrators who say they were held by Islamists last Wednesday, in some cases for more than 12 hours. Now, as witnesses are telling their stories of that night, a clear picture is emerging not just of the violence committed by members of the Brotherhood, but also their readiness to mete out arbitrary vigilante justice.