Violent Clashes Between Army And Pro-Morsi ProtestersJuly 8, 2013 in Egypt
8 July, 2013 – An investigation has begun into deadly clash in Cairo earlier today which left 42 civilians and one soldier dead, and 322 civilians and 40 soldiers injured. The clashes occurred between the Egyptian Army and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi at the Republican Guard headquarters. Pro-Morsi supporters have been staging planned protests and sit-ins around the country since Friday in hopes of returning the ousted president to power.
Conflicting reports have emerged regarding how the clashes started. The Egyptian army has released an official statement claiming that an armed terrorist group attempted to break into the headquarters of the Republican Guard early on Monday and attacked security forces. However, the Muslim Brotherhood has released a contradictory statement claiming that peaceful protesters were performing the Fajjr (dawn prayers) when the army fired tear gas and gunshots at them, “without any consideration for the sanctity of prayers or life.” The Brotherhood goes on to state that women and children sought shelter in a nearby mosque, which was besieged by security forces who then “arrested anyone who came out of it.”The army states that it arrested 200 people who had “large quantities of firearms, ammunition and Molotov cocktails.”
The pro-Morsi umbrella group, the National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy, is continuing sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City, and other groups are protesting in several other locations, including Nahdet Misr Square in Giza.
Following today’s events, Strong Egypt Party leader Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, a critic of former President Morsi, called on interim president Adly Mansour to step down. The Salafist Nour Party, which had initially backed the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, announced that it will withdraw from the political process in response to the incident. The party released a statement saying, “We wanted to avoid bloodshed, but now blood has been spilled. So now we want to announce that we will end all negotiations with the new authorities.”
Constitution Party leader, Mohamed El Baradei, has called for an independent investigation into clashes. El Baradei was set to be appointed as interim Prime Minister for Egypt but the appointment has been delayed after heavy backlash from Morsi supporters.
Also on Monday, two army soldiers fled from kidnappers, accusing pro-Morsi supporters of capturing them in Cairo’s Ain Shams district. The army says a group of armed Morsi supporters kidnapped soldiers Samir Abdallah and Azzam Hazem. They forced the soldiers to chant pro-Morsi slogans and insults to the army, and beat them. The soldiers say the incident was filmed.
The Islamic month of Ramadan begins today. Generally, this month sees quiet mornings, with people engaging in social activities in the evening after breaking fast. It is likely that evening activities will continue to center around political differences, which may result late night/early morning clashes centered around areas near mosques.