News / Middle East

Following Crackdown, Egypt Declares State of Emergency

Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi clash with the Egyptian security forces as the forces clear their sit-in camp in the eastern Nasr City district of Cairo, Aug. 14, 2013.
Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi clash with the Egyptian security forces as the forces clear their sit-in camp in the eastern Nasr City district of Cairo, Aug. 14, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
The Egyptian army says an operation to clear two sit-in protest camps of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo is almost over, amid conflicting reports on the number of casualties. 

The interim government says 278 people, including 43 policemen, were killed Wednesday.

But a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, which demands ousted President Mohamed Morsi be returned to power, says 2,600 people were killed when police fired into crowds of demonstrators with automatic rifles.

Egypt's interim vice president, pro-reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei, resigned, saying he could not bear responsibility for decisions he "does not agree with and whose consequences" he fears.

Violent clashes spread across Cairo and many parts of Egypt, after government security forces moved to disperse Muslim Brotherhood supporters at two protest camps in the capital.  The two sit-ins began more than 40 days ago, after the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

Security forces succeeded quickly in breaking up the second and smaller of the two sit-ins near Cairo University, arresting dozens of people.  Bulldozers cleared bricks and sandbags from the street, as soldiers knocked down tents and set fire to political posters.

Egypt's State of Emergency

-Egypt declared a state of emergency (SOE) to restore civil order
-Announced Aug. 14 at 4 p.m. local time via state TV
-SOE to last one month
-Egyptian military forces have wide range of authority without challenge from a second or third party
-May enforce curfews, close institutions, detain anyone at will, keep people in detention as long as they deem necessary and enforce travel restrictions
At the largest sit-in near the Raba'a Adawiya Mosque in northern Cairo, police and army troops fired tear gas and pushed into parts of the sprawling square.  Fires burned inside the camp and clouds of tear gas filled the air.  Several top Muslim Brotherhood leaders were reportedly arrested.

Amid the widening conflict, the leader of Egypt's venerable al-Azhar University, Sheikh Ahmed Tayyeb, urged everyone to avoid violence and political leaders to sit down at the negotiating table.

He said violence will never be a solution to the conflict and urges everyone to use wisdom and common sense to find a political solution.  He adds that he was not informed of the decision to storm the sit-ins.
Violence and vandalism also struck other parts of Egypt as Muslim Brotherhood supporters ransacked and burned the provincial governor's office in Alexandria and government headquarters in Fayyoum.  Al-Arabiya TV reported four churches were torched in the south of the country.

A rival Islamist group to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafi Nour Party, urged Egyptians to “stop attacking government buildings and churches.”  The Nour Party has refused to join the interim government, but has criticized the Muslim Brotherhood for not participating in the political process since the ouster of Morsi.

Watch related video by VOA's Elizabeth Arrott:

Egypt Security Moves Against Pro-Morsi Campsi
August 14, 2013 2:52 PM
Egyptian security forces have moved against two anti-government encampments in Cairo. The two sides are giving conflicting numbers for casualties, with Muslim Brotherhood officials saying dozens of their supporters have been killed. Egyptian state media say at least five security force members have also died. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.

A spokesman for the interim government deplored the loss of life and insisted that a road map for a return to democracy, announced at the beginning of July, would go ahead.

He said the government will continue with its political road map, despite the violence, and urges all political forces to participate.

But Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mohamed Beltagy denounced the Egyptian military for what he claimed was a “massacre,” and insisted a “military coup” had “failed.”  Speaking in angry tones, he said his group would continue its protests.

He accused the Egyptian military of killing protesters in cold blood, using snipers on top of buildings and claimed there was no room for the bodies at the hospital.  He called on Egyptian soldiers to mutiny.  Casualty figures he cited varied widely from those being reported.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose party has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, condemned what he claimed was a “massacre,” and urged the United Nations to investigate.

  • Egyptian security forces detain supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi as they clear a sit-in camp set up near Cairo University in Cairo's Giza district, Egypt, Aug. 14, 2013.
  • A protester comforts a wounded colleague after Egyptian security forces began to clear a sit-in by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in the eastern Nasr City district of Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 14, 2013.
  • Egyptian security forces detain protesters as they clear a sit-in by supporters ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in the eastern Nasr City district of Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 14, 2013.
  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi chant slogans as they demonstrate in Egypt's northern coastal city of Alexandria, against security forces clearing two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo. Aug. 14, 2013
  • Turkish supporters of Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi, holding a portrait mocking General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, march during a demonstration condemning the deadly crackdown in Cairo outside the Egyptian embassy in Ankara, Aug. 14, 2013.
  • Egyptian security forces inspect the sit-in camp set up by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Nasr City district, Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 14, 2013.
  • Egyptian security forces clear a sit-in camp set up by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Nasr City district, Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 14, 2013.
  • Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi speaks to Egyptian security forces as they clear a sit-in camp set up by Morsi supporters near Cairo University in Cairo's Giza district, Egypt, Aug. 14, 2013.
  • Egyptian security forces stand amidst remains of a protest camp by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi after a crackdown near Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, Aug. 14, 2013.

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Comment Sorting
by: Tony Bellchambers from: London UK
August 15, 2013 6:32 AM
As Egypt burns and Israel expands its illegal settlements, the threat of a catastrophic war in the Middle East edges ever closer to reality. Once the so-called 'peace talks' have been deliberately aborted by yet further land grabs in the occupied West Bank, and there are more mass killings in Cairo, the scene will be set for a regional conflict that will likely see the entire Middle East in flames with the addition of devastating fallout from Israel's nuclear weapons.

But there will be no winners, just a blackened radiated landscape extending from Libya in the west to Pakistan in the east, covering Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Iran. And the US and AIPAC will express surprise and bewilderment as the delayed radioactive contamination slowly moves across continents to fall, in rain, on crops and land in Europe, Africa and worldwide.

And our world will never be the same again. That is the terrifying reality of today's WMD and their lobbyists.

by: aladdin
August 14, 2013 5:24 PM
Arabs are not ready for democracy.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
August 14, 2013 8:57 PM
Arabs are waiting for your inspiration for democracy. you and editor of new York times and the genus at el jazz aria and cnn. please teach them about democracy .they are waiting for you

by: revolutionist from: egypt
August 14, 2013 5:19 PM
even though we are sad for those victims but there have been no other choices after muslims-brotherhood leaders have refused all government efforts to find a fair solution that is acceptable for all conflicting sides.
In Response

by: Sensi
August 15, 2013 8:20 AM
Ah the military junta propagandists, what a funny bunch of nauseous liars.

by: ali baba from: new york
August 14, 2013 4:31 PM
good is painful but necessary
In Response

by: Sensi
August 15, 2013 8:21 AM
Another shameless propagandist for the fascistic military junta, what a disgrace.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 14, 2013 12:01 PM
It can only get this way to find the right way. Egypt needs strong hand to handle it. The Muslim Brotherhood has been looking for an armed struggle in Egypt. Now it is here for them, let's see what they do with it. Already we have seen caches of arms and ammunition in the so-called peaceful demonstration camps. How did the security men die? The Muslim Brotherhood should be prosecuted for any child that dies in the melee. Using innocent children who do not understand what they are used for in the protest is most inhuman. Women who take part in the protests can be treated as felons like their men counterparts, especially when they bring the children along to die undeserved death because of their stupidity.

Now they are turning against the churches and schools. What is the sin of those places of worship and learning in this fracas? Goes to prove the truth that most people in the protests are there because the Brotherhood takes a roll call of everybody in their neighborhood. Anyone absent from the camps becomes target of discrimination and/or witch hunt. Now it is happening to the Christians whose absence from the camps is unmistakable. The army started well and cannot afford to go back as that will be suicidal, not only to the military and interim government families, but much more to the minorities, the moderates, the liberals and the Christians who will become less than ordinary rag if the brotherhood ventures near power again.

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