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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Egypt: Violent clashes erupted on Monday between Muslim Brotherhood protesters and army in Cairo

Army deployed in the area of clashes
Violent and bloody clashes erupted on Monday morning, 8 July, between Egypt’s military and Muslim Brotherhood protesters in Cairo’s Nasr City when the supporters of Egypt’s recently deposed President Mohamed Morsy fought with the army in front of Republican Guard’s headquarters.

The reports about the events are different and contradictory, as the representatives of Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of Muslim Brotherhood, accused army of attacking the peaceful demonstrators while they have been performing the morning prayers, and the military official statement declares there have been the armed terrorist groups attacked the military and the building.

Egypt’s political parties and powers, Islamist and oppositional as well, strongly condemned the violence in Cairo and called for the investigations of the bloody events.

Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour has ordered to form the special committee to investigate the clashes erupted on Monday morning.

According to the Health Ministry of Egypt 51 people died (among them military officer) and 435 people injured, including several soldiers, some of them in difficult condition.

I’d like to share here Ahram Online report with more details regarding the deadly clashes between Morsy supporters and military in Cairo. The article is originally posted here.

Death toll rises to 51 in Monday clashes between Egypt army and pro-Morsi protesters

Brotherhood claims army opened fire on peaceful protesters, army says 'armed terrorist group' tried to storm Republican Guard HQ; health ministry confirms 51 dead; one officer dead; Islamist leaders, NSF condemn killings

Ahram Online, Monday 8 Jul 2013

Clashes in Cairo
Prosecutors have begun on Monday afternoon an investigation into the bloody clashes between the Egyptian army and pro-Morsi protesters at the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo earlier in the day.

The clashes  left at least 51 civilians dead and 435 injured, the ministry of health said on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian army said one officer died and 42 soldiers were injured, including eight in critical condition.

Prosecutors said they had found bullets, birdshot and Molotov cocktails in the vicinity of the clashes near the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo's Nasr City.

A delegation of prosecutors visited Zenhom morgue where some of the dead were taken, while another interviewed victims in local hospitals.

Contradictory stories

Conflicting reports have emerged on how the clashes started on the fifth day of a Muslim Brotherhood spearheaded sit-in at the army facility to demand the return of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

In an official statement published by Al-Ahram Arabic news website, the army said an "armed terrorist group" attempted to break into the Republican Guard headquarters in the early hours of Monday and "attacked security forces."

The Muslim Brotherhood's FJP, however, issued an official statement saying "peaceful protesters were performing the Fajjr (dawn) prayers" when the army "fired tear gas and gunshots at them without any consideration for the sanctity of prayers or life."

"This is also a violation against people's right to peaceful protest," it added.

Large numbers of women and young people sought shelter in a nearby mosque, the Brotherhood statement said, but the security forces "besieged the mosque and arrested anyone who came out of it."
“This has never happened before in the history of the Egyptian army,” the FJP statement added.

“Perhaps there are still some wise men in the army who can put a stop to this behavior which is abnormal to the Egyptian army.”

The army, however, said it had arrested at least 200 people who had “large quantities of firearms, ammunition and Molotov cocktails.”
It also said that it had reopened Salah Salem Road which had been blocked by pro-Morsi protesters.

Injured protesters during the clashes
President Morsi was deposed by Egypt's Armed Forces on Wednesday following nationwide protests calling for his ouster. Judge Adly Mansour, the head of the High Constitutional Court, was sworn in as the country's interim president on Thursday.

Morsi's removal sparked anger among his supporters, mainly Islamists, spearheaded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy, a pro-Morsi group formed to back his right to complete his term of office, continues its sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City district.

Other pro-Morsi groups have been protesting elsewhere, most notable at Nahdet Misr Square in Giza.

Political reactions and fallout

Shortly after the deadly clashes, Strong Egypt Party leader Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, a critic of former President Morsi, called on interim president Adly Mansour to step down.

Abul-Fotouh, who resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood shortly after the 2011 uprising, told Al Jazeera that the incident was "a horrible crime against humanity and all Egyptians."

Also on Monday, the Salafist Nour Party, which had initially backed the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, announced that it "will withdraw from the political process" in response to the incident.

"We wanted to avoid bloodshed, but now blood has been spilled. So now we want to announce that we will end all negotiations with the new authorities," Nour added.

Meanwhile, Constitution Party leader Mohamed ElBaradei has called for an independent investigation into clashes at the Republican Guard headquarters that left at least 42 dead on Monday morning.

“Violence begets violence and should be strongly condemned,” ElBaradei said via Twitter. “Independent investigation a must. Peaceful transition is only way.”

Egypt's largest opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front (NSF), has expressed its "deep sorrow" over the death of dozens of people outside the Republican Guard barracks.

In a statement it issued on Monday afternoon, the NSF condemned "all acts of violence," including assaults on military barracks and army officers.

Al-Azhar, Egypt's 1000-year-old seat of Islamic learning, has condemned the "painful incident," which it says will portend a dark time of strife.

Egypt's Rebel campaign, the main force behind calls for the 30 June protests culminating in Morsi's ouster last Wednesday, condemned what it perceived as vengeful attempts by political Islamists against the army.

Mohab Doss, a group's spokesman, claimed the incident was a "reaction" by the army to "intimidation" by Islamist groups.

However, Doss added "the whole truth of what really happened should be uncovered through an independent investigation."