News / Middle East

Egypt Reeling in Aftermath of Wednesday's Violence

Egypt Reeling in Aftermath of Wednesday's Violencei
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August 15, 2013 8:44 PM
Egypt is counting the dead from Wednesday's security operations against supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. Government officials say more than 500 people, mostly civilians were killed, while the Muslim Brotherhood says the death toll is in the thousands. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
Elizabeth Arrott
Egypt is counting the dead from Wednesday's security operations against supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.  Government officials say more than 500 people, mostly civilians were killed, while the Muslim Brotherhood says the death toll is in the thousands. 

Egypt is reeling in the aftermath of Wednesday's violence, with funerals under way for those killed during the security crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Despite the month-long state of emergency imposed the day before, supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi took to the streets again Thursday, extending the confrontations.

Government buildings were attacked, while Coptic Christians, accused of backing the July coup against Morsi, worked their way through the rubble of churches destroyed in anger.

Egypt's interim government has justified the move against two protest camps in Cairo Wednesday.  Officials are blaming supporters of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood for the violence, which spread to cities across the country.

And while international condemnation of the operations continues to pour in, many ordinary Egyptians seem to have felt that force was necessary.

“What happened was tragic.  It's one of the traumas of the nation," said political analyst Hisham Kassem.  "However, Egyptians want to get back to normal life.  They feel that the state was quite patient with the people in the sit-ins in Rabaa and Nahda and used up all options before resorting to violence, and were very cooperative yesterday when a curfew was called on the hopes that this will help the state put all of this behind them."

The state of emergency is expected to last one month, and along with nighttime curfew in Cairo and other governorates, several key institutions remain closed, including banks and the stock exchange.  

And the Brotherhood and its supporters have vowed to keep up their protests - in one form or another  -  making a return to normal life in this divided country seem far away.

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