Egypt: dozens dead as army opens fire on sit-in of Morsi supporters
Dozens of people have been killed after the army opened fire on a sit-in staged by supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi in Cairo.
9:42AM BST 08 Jul 2013
"The death toll is 42 dead and 322 wounded," Ahmed al-Ansari, the deputy head of emergency services, told AFP.
A spokesman from Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, Mourad Ali, and a witness at the scene said military forces opened fire at dawn on the protesters outside the Republican Guard building. The different accounts could not be reconciled.
Satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera showed footage from a nearby field hospital of at least six dead bodies laid out on the ground, some with severe wounds. A medic from the area, Hesham Agami, said ambulances were unable to transport more than 200 wounded to hospitals because the military had blocked off the roads.
Al-Shaimaa Younes, who was at the sit-in, said military troops and police forces opened fire on the protesters during early morning prayers. "They opened fire with live ammunition and lobbed tear gas," she said by telephone. "There was panic and people started running. I saw people fall."
Women and children had been among the protesters, she said.
Morsi supporters have been holding rallies and a sit-in outside the Republican Guard building since the military deposed Morsi last week during massive protests against him. The military chief replaced Morsi with an interim president, until presidential elections are held. But Morsi's supporters refuse to recognise the change in leadership and insist Morsi be reinstated. Besides the Republican Guard sit-in, they are also holding thousands-strong daily rallies at a nearby mosque.
Morsi's opponents are also holding rival rallies. They say the former president lost his legitimacy by mismanaging the country and not ruling democratically, leading to a mass revolt that called on the army to push him from office.
Military spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said initial information indicates that gunmen affiliated with the Brotherhood tried to storm the Republican Guard building shortly after dawn, firing live ammunition and throwing firebombs from a nearby mosque and rooftops. One police officer on the scene was killed, he said. Another military spokesman, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to brief reporters, said five from the Brotherhood side were killed.
So, that's three Arab Spring countries (Libya, Syria and Egypt) that have descended into civil war. That leaves Yemen, Bahrain and Tunisia. Yemen was pretty much already in a civil war, Bahrain has suppressed the protestors, and Tunisia is on it's third Prime Minister since the end of Ben Ali's presidency. Not exactly a glowing record. And, of course, Iran's attempt at throwing off the mullahs after the Ahmedinejad election wasn't supported by our government, so the one opportunity that we had to influence regional events in our favor has squandered. Wake me when it's 2016.