Egypt braces for ‘Friday of anger’ demo

Egypt braces for ‘Friday of anger’ demo
Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:23:32

The Egyptian capital, Cairo is poised for renewed protests as supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi call for marches after Friday prayers.

It comes two days after authorities broke up Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in the Egyptian capital with the loss of at least 638 lives.

Egypt is in a state of emergency and police have been authorized to use live ammunition in self-defense.

Meanwhile, Egypt's interim leaders have criticized remarks by US President Barack Obama.

On Thursday, Obama condemned the government's actions in ordering security forces to break up the protest camps, and cancelled joint military exercises.

He said cooperation could not continue while civilians were being killed. However, he stopped short of cutting $1.3 billion in aid that the US gives to Egypt.

The Egyptian presidency said in a statement on Friday that Obama's words were "not based on fact" and would "embolden armed groups".

It said Egypt was facing "terrorist acts".

The Muslim Brotherhood called on its supporters to gather in mosques for Friday prayers and then take to the streets of Cairo for ‘Friday of anger’ rallies.

The group's leaders say they will hold marches under the slogan "the people want to topple the coup".

In response, a pro-government group has called on people to protect their neighborhoods and churches throughout the country.

There are fears of renewed bloodshed after authorities said the police were authorized to use live ammunition to protect themselves and key state institutions from attack.

Reports say there were renewed attacks on security forces on Thursday, with at least seven soldiers and a policeman killed in the Sinai peninsula and another police officer killed in the central city of Assuit.

Wednesday's bloodshed has drawn widespread international condemnation.

Late on Thursday, the UN Security Council met in emergency session at the request of France, Britain and Australia.

Following the meeting, Argentina's ambassador to the UN, Maria Cristina Perceval, said the Council called for the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise "maximum restraint" and to end the violence.

Turkey, which described Wednesday's events as a "massacre", has recalled its ambassador to Cairo "to discuss the latest developments".

Wednesday's violence began when armored bulldozers moved into the two Cairo protest camps.

The smaller of the two camps, at Nahda Square, was cleared quickly but clashes raged for several hours in and around the main encampment near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. The mosque was badly damaged by fire.

Egyptian interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi said the authorities had to restore security.

Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, is in custody charged with murder over a 2011 jailbreak. His period of detention was extended by 30 days on Thursday, state media said.


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