Cairo: At least 80 people were killed in Egypt on Friday in fresh clashes between security forces and ousted President Mohamed Morsi's supporters, who took to the streets after Friday prayers to protest the killing of over 600 in a crackdown by the military-backed government.
Defying Interior Ministry's warning that police would use live ammunition against anyone threatening public buildings, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters thronged streets and clashed with security forces in the capital Cairo, Ismailiya, Damietta, Alexandria and elsewhere. Officially the death toll was put at 80, but Muslim Brotherhood claimed more of its supporters were killed in police firing during the protests that it dubbed as "Friday of Rage".
The army deployed dozens of armoured vehicles around Cairo and blocked all roads leading to Rabia al-Adawiya, where hundreds were killed in police firing on Wednesday. Barbed wire blocked all entrances to Tahrir Square, the scene of anti-regime protests during the January 2011 revolution. Automatic gunfire echoed across Cairo and black smoke billowed from the capital's huge Ramses Square, a military helicopter hovering low overhead looking down on the chaos.
80 killed across Egypt in fresh clashes between security forces and Morsi supporters
Officially the death toll was put at 80, but Muslim Brotherhood claimed more of its supporters were killed in police firing.
The Interior Ministry issued a warning on TV to abide by the curfew which started at 2230 IST and said those who breach it would be dealt with firm measures. The protesters said they will not leave and intend to stay, which is likely to cause more confrontation and deaths. They demanded an end to military-backed government and reinstatement of 62-year-old Morsi, who was ousted by the army on July 3 after countrywide protests.
The Egyptian cabinet called on citizens to stick to their national unity and to reject any call for division in light of the current events. In a statement, the Cabinet said that "numerous terrorists and outlaws were confronted and the security forces arrested some terrorists affiliated with the Brotherhood". The cabinet stressed that the Egyptian Armed Forces, police, and people are unified against the "brutal terrorist scheme being implemented by the Brotherhood in Egypt".