More violence has erupted in Egypt as thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in rival demonstrations for and against the continued detention of ousted Egyptian President Morsi.
Massive, rival rallies in and around Cairo ran into the wee hours of Saturday, with one group celebrating the ouster and jailing of once Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy and others angrily demanding the democratically elected leader’s return.
These demonstrations around the capital — and in fact all around the tumultuous nation — showed the raw emotion and deep divisions tied to Morsy, political battles that have rocked a country already dealing with major economic and other challenges.
Clashes have been reported in the capital of Cairo as well as in Alexandria and Nasr City, where in some parts of the cities, witnesses reported tear gas being fired and scenes of injured protesters.
But in Tahrir Square, the scene of the 2011 uprising, protesters who oppose Morsi cheered on military helicopters as fireworks went off in the square, according to CNN.
The numbers on reported deaths vary drastically.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is reporting that 220 protesters were killed and 4,500 injured in the clashes. But NPR provided reports directly from Egypt’s Ministry of Health, placing deaths in the dozens.
At least 46 people have been killed and hundreds injured in bloody clashes overnight in and around Cairo after protests escalated into violence, with supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi saying police shot at demonstrators.
NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that official numbers from Egypt’s Ministry of Health have the number of dead at 46, with 708 injured.
In a statement, Dr. Khaled Khatib, was quoted as saying the deaths include 38 around Rabie al-Adawiya mosque, where the main pro-Morsi sit-in was staged. Eight others were killed in the city of Alexandria.
Many of the deaths and injuries were caused by live ammunition, doctors say.
Fueling the clashes was the recent announcement that Morsi is being held over allegations of plotting with Hamas, including attacks on jails in the 2011 uprising.
From the BBC:
The judicial order says the former president is suspected of conspiring with Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and has strong links with Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, during the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak.
He is accused of colluding with the Palestinian group to storm police stations and jails, “setting fire to one prison and enabling inmates to flee, including himself, as well as premeditated killing of officers, soldiers and prisoners”.
Mr Morsi and several Muslim Brotherhood leaders were freed during a breakout at a Cairo prison in January 2011.
A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood dismissed the charges against Morsi as “ridiculous,” while Hamas said there isn’t any evidence linking it to the prison break, according to the BBC.
Earlier this week, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s army chief, called upon the people to protest on Friday to “give me [Sisi], the army and police, a mandate to confront possible violence and terrorism.”
The Obama administration meanwhile has delayed the planned sale of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt. However, it continues to sidestep its decision over what to do about the estimated $1.55 billion in annual US aid to Egypt, as it grapples with whether or not what happened in Egypt can be designated a coup.DONATE
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