A state of emergency and curfew are in place in Egypt after riot police smashed two protest camps hosting supporters of the deposed Islamist president, sparking street violence that officials said killed nearly 300 people.
The crackdown drew widespread condemnation from the Muslim world and the West, including the US, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei resigned as the interim vice president in protest - a blow to the new military-backed leadership's credibility.
Interim prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi said in a televised address to the nation that it had been a "difficult day".
While he said he regretted the bloodshed, he offered no apologies for moving against the supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, saying they were given ample warnings to leave and he had tried foreign mediation efforts.
Mr el-Beblawi said the government could not indefinitely tolerate a challenge to authority that the six-week-old protests represented. "We want to see a civilian state in Egypt, not a military state and not a religious state," he said.
The government has declared a month-long nationwide state of emergency and imposed a night curfew on Cairo, Alexandria on the Mediterranean and 12 other provinces where violence broke out following the simultaneous raids. It also ordered the armed forces to support the police in restoring law and order and protect state facilities.
The leaders of Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood called the events a "massacre". Several of them were detained as police swept through the two sit-in sites, scores of other Islamists were taken into custody, and the future of the once-banned movement was uncertain. Backed by helicopters, police fired tear gas and used armoured bulldozers to plough into the barricades at the two protest camps in different sections of Cairo where the Morsi supporters had been camped since before he was ousted by the military on July 3.
After the police moved on the camps, street battles broke out in Cairo and other cities across Egypt. Government buildings and police stations were attacked, roads were blocked, and Christian churches were torched, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said. At one point, protesters trapped a police vehicle on an overpass near the Nasr City camp and pushed it off, according to images posted on social networking sites that showed an injured policeman on the ground, near a pool of blood and the overturned vehicle.
The Health Ministry said 235 civilians were killed and more than 2,000 injured, while Mr Ibrahim said 43 policemen died in the violence. The death toll is expected to rise.
Three journalists were among the dead: Mick Deane, 61, a cameraman for British broadcaster Sky News; Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, 26, a reporter for the Gulf News, a state-backed newspaper in the United Arab Emirates; and Ahmed Abdel Gawad, who wrote for Egypt's state-run newspaper Al Akhbar.