Cairo’s streets were largely empty on Wednesday night as the city was put under curfew after Egypt’s worst bloodshed in decades. The army also announced a month-long state of emergency.
The official number of dead after the military broke up Islamist protest camps was rounded up to 525 nationwide on Thursday morning. The Muslim Brotherhood claims the true number is far higher.
Egypt’s interim government has defended the crackdown.
“I believe that after announcing the state of emergency, and after the president mandated the military to assist the police, we will not allow any other sit-ins in any place in the country, no matter what the sacrifice,” said interim Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.
The patience of Egypt’s military ran out yesterday – the two sit-ins in Cairo where supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi had for weeks refused to leave until he was reinstated, were cleared.
According to army footage, the security forces acted with restraint in the face of what they said were armed protesters.
The dead and injured were taken to local hospitals where doctors described the scene as the aftermath of a massacre.
“All the injured people that came to the hospital were hit by real bullets and not birdshot, “ said one doctor at al-Adawiya hospital.
The army has insisted it is not seeking power and acted in response to mass demonstrations calling for Mursi’s removal.
But after Wednesday’s bloodshed interim Vice President Mohamed Elbaradei has resigned in dismay at the use of force.
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