Month-Long State of Emergency Declared by Egypt
The major news outlets are humming this morning after almost 100 Egyptians were killed when security officers stormed a pro-Morsi protest. The Egyptian government then imposed a month-long state of emergency that was declared less than two hours before this posting.
CNN reported that the violence started when Morsi supporters refused to leave their area and the officers decided to bulldoze the tents. CNN correspondent Reza Sayah in Cairo said that the crowds have “said they’re prepared to die.” The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence and called for “all Egyptians to concentrate their efforts on promoting genuine inclusive reconciliation.”
Reuters reported the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s pro-Morsi protests, Mohamed El-Beltagi, as stoking the flames and calling for the head of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the leader of the armed forces who deposed President Morsi.
“I swear by God that if you stay in your homes, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will embroil this country so that it becomes Syria,” he said about the leader. “Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will push this nation to a civil war so that he escapes the gallows.”
The unrest spread quickly with people dying along the Mediterranean coast and in the southern part of the country. Nine hours following the assault on the main protester camps, Morsi supporters are still blocking roads, waving flags, and chanting.
A Sky News cameraman from the UK was killed in the clashes along with a reporter for Gulf News.
The BBC notes that it all happened right before dawn. Bulldozers came in and knocked over tents while Morsi supporters threw bricks and burning tires. Tear gas was deployed, and the security officers utilized live ammunition in their efforts.
Spokesman Shebab Wagih was quoted by the BBC in support of the security forces, saying that “We believe in human rights, but at the same time, we cannot accept the idea of having a state inside a state… There is no other resolution when someone is establishing a state inside your state.”
8/15 Update: the death toll in the conflicts has now reached 525 as reported by the Egyptian government. The Muslim Brotherhood continues to insist over 2000 people were killed. To continue getting updates about this story, Reuters will be tracking it here.