Thousands of pro-Mursi protesters stage Cairo march

Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi take part in a protest near Ennour Mosque in Cairo August 16, 2013.  Credit: Reuters
Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi take part in a protest near Ennour Mosque in Cairo August 16, 2013.
Credit: Reuters

Thousands of supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi marched from northeast Cairo on Friday towards downtown chanting “down with military rule” as the country braced for mass protests over a crackdown on Islamists.

The Egyptian military deployed around vital installations in Cairo, state media reported, before the “Friday of Anger” protests.

Hundreds of people died and thousands were wounded on Wednesday when police cleared out two protest camps in Cairo set up to denounce the military’s overthrow of Egypt’s first freely elected president on July 3 and to demand his reinstatement.

The Health Ministry puts the death toll at 578. The Brotherhood says the government is hiding a much bigger number.

Dozens of armored vehicles will close off streets around part of northeastern Cairo where Islamists had staged protests demanding Mursi’s reinstatement, the state news agency said.

Military vehicles manned by soldiers could be seen in central Cairo, where checkpoints with barbed wire were set up.

Deeply polarized Egypt has been bracing for further confrontation expected after Friday prayers between members of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and the army-backed government.

The Brotherhood called for a nationwide march of millions to show anger at the ferocious security crackdown on Islamists.

After protesters torched a government building in Cairo on Thursday, the authorities said security forces would turn their guns on anyone who attacked the police or public institutions.

Wednesday’s bloodshed was the third mass killing of Mursi’s supporters since his ouster. The assault left his Muslim Brotherhood in disarray, but it said it would not retreat in its showdown with army commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“After the blows and arrests and killings that we are facing, emotions are too high to be guided by anyone,” said Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad.

“PAIN AND SORROW”

A Brotherhood statement called for a nationwide “march of anger” by millions of supporters on Friday after noon prayers.

“Despite the pain and sorrow over the loss of our martyrs, the latest coup makers’ crime has increased our determination to end them,” it said.

The Brotherhood accuses the military of staging a coup when it ousted Mursi. Liberal and youth activists who backed the military saw the move as a positive response to public demands.

But some fear Egypt is turning back into the kind of police state that kept Mubarak in power for 30 years, as security institutions recover their confidence and reassert control.

Friday prayers have proved a fertile time for protests during more than two years of unrest across the Arab world.

In calling for a “Friday of anger,” the Brotherhood used the same name as that given to the most violent day of the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak. That day, January 28, 2011, marked the protesters’ victory over the police, who were forced to retreat while the army was asked to intervene.

In a counter-move, a loose liberal and leftist coalition, the National Salvation Front, called on Egyptians to protest on Friday against the Brotherhood’s “obvious terrorism actions”.

Signaling his displeasure at the worst bloodshed in Egypt for generations, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday normal cooperation with Cairo could not continue and announced the cancellation of military exercises with Egypt next month.

“We deplore violence against civilians. We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest,” he said, but stopped short of cutting off the $1.55 billion a year of mostly military U.S. aid to Egypt.

The United States on Thursday told its citizens to leave Egypt due to the unrest. It issued the same advice last month.

The Egyptian presidency issued a statement saying Obama’s remarks were not based on “facts” and would strengthen and encourage violent groups that were committing “terrorist acts”.

“REFRAIN FROM VIOLENCE”

Washington’s influence over Cairo has been called into question since Mursi’s overthrow. Since then Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have pledged $12 billion in assistance, making them more prominent partners.

Obama’s refusal so far to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt suggests he does not wish to alienate the generals despite the scale of the bloodshed in the army’s suppression of Mursi supporters.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he had called Sisi on Thursday to say Washington would maintain its military relationship with Egypt, but he also told him the recent violence was putting defense cooperation at risk.

“Since the recent crisis began, the United States has made it clear that the Egyptian government must refrain from violence, respect freedom of assembly, and move toward an inclusive political transition,” Hagel said in a statement.

The White House has voiced support for democracy in Egypt, while seeking to protect the U.S. strategic interest in Egypt’s stability, its peace treaty with Israel and cooperation with the U.S. military, including privileged access to the Suez Canal.

France’s foreign minister said on Friday the tension in Egypt risked playing into the hands of radical groups.

“Maximum restraint must be shown otherwise the risk is that extremist groups take advantage of the situation and that would be extremely serious, “Laurent Fabius told RTL radio.

The Egyptian press was full of praise for security forces, illustrating the rift between Cairo and its Western allies.

Some Gulf Arab states applauded the army action. The UAE praised Egypt’s government for using “maximum self-control”.

The Arab nations’ cash, which started arriving in July, is aimed at stabilizing Egypt’s wobbling economy, which is suffering from a ballooning budget deficit and high inflation.

This week’s carnage will further damage state coffers. The government has imposed a night-time curfew set to last at least a month, a move that will hit the crucial tourism industry.

On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council urged all parties in Egypt to exercise restraint, but did not assign blame.

“The view of council members is that it is important to end violence in Egypt,” Argentine U.N. Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval said after the 15-member council met on the situation.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had earlier also urged the council to convene quickly after what he called a massacre in Egypt and criticized Western nations for failing to stop it.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has called for an independent investigation into Wednesday’s events in Egypt.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.