Aug 14 2013
Egypt has declared a state of emergency after clashes broke out across the country following a deadly bid to clear two protest camps in Cairo.
Security forces moved on the two areas where Muslim Brotherhood supporters of outsted president Mohammed Morsi were holding sit-ins. Estimates of the dead varied wildly, from an official 56 by the government to hundreds claimed by the protesters.
Clashes also broke out elsewhere in the capital and other provinces across the country, injuring more than 800 people nationwide, as Islamist anger over the crackdown spread, with police stations, government buildings and Coptic Christian churches attacked or set ablaze.
The assault came after days of warnings by the military-backed interim administration that replaced Mr Morsi after he was removed in a July 3 coup. The two sit-in camps at major junctions on opposite sides of the Egyptian capital began in late June to show support for Mr Morsi. Protesters have demanded his reinstatement.
The smaller of the two camps was cleared of protesters by late morning, with most of them taking refuge in the nearby Orman botanical gardens on the campus of Cairo University and the zoo. Security forces later stormed the larger camp in the Cairo district of Nasr City and were closing in on the Rabaah al-Adawiya Mosque that has served as the centre of pro-Morsi campaign. Several wanted Brotherhood leaders were believed to be hiding in the mosque.
Protesters claimed that security forces used live ammunition, but the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police, said its forces only used tear gas and that they came under fire from the camp.
The Health Ministry said 95 people were killed and 874 injured across Egypt, but it did not provide a breakdown. Two journalists were among the dead - Mick Deane, 61, a cameraman for Sky News, and Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, 26, a reporter for the Gulf News, a state-backed newspaper in the United Arab Emirates.
The turmoil was the latest chapter a bitter stand off between Mr Morsi's supporters and the interim leadership took over the Arab world's most populous country. The military ousted Mr Morsi after millions of Egyptians massed in the streets to call for him to step down, accusing him of giving the Brotherhood undue influence and failing to implement vital reforms or bolster the ailing economy.
The Muslim Brotherhood's political arm claimed that more than 500 protesters were killed and 9,000 wounded in the two camps, but those figures could not be confirmed and nothing on local TV networks suggested such a high death toll.
Security officials said train services between northern and southern Egypt have been suspended in a bid to prevent Morsi supporters from travelling from other provinces to Cairo. Clashes erupted on two roads in Cairo's upmarket Mohandiseen district when Morsi supporters opened fire on passing cars and pedestrians. Police used tear gas to chase them away. Churches belonging to Egypt's minority Coptic Christians were torched in four provinces south of Cairo - Minya, Assiut, Sohag and the desert oasis Fayoum. In the city of Bani Suef south of Cairo, protesters set three police cars on fire. Farther south in the Islamist stronghold of Assiut, police used tear gas to disperse pro-Mr Morsi crowds in the city center.