World News

Heavy Casualties Reported in Cairo Protests

News media in Cairo are reporting heavy casualties after Egyptian security forces moved in on two sit-in protests supporting ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

The French News Agency says its reporters counted at least 43 bodies in a makeshift morgue set up by medics manning a field hospital and treating scores of wounded.

Pro-Morsi groups said the casualty figures were much higher. Their figures could not be independently verified. Egyptian state media say at least two security force members have been killed in the melee.

Adel Abdel Ghafar, a visiting scholar with the American University in Cairo, told VOA that details about Wednesday's events may be slow to emerge because of the politically charged atmosphere.

"The media is quite polarized. The people on Twitter are polarized. I think it will take at least a day or two to verify the casualties."

Police backed by bulldozers and armored cars, fired tear gas at the protest sites. Television footage showed smoke rising over the protest site and military helicopters circling in the sky. State media say some 35 protesters have been arrested for having gas cans or cylinders.

Reports say the Nahda Square protest site, near Cairo University, has been completely cleared of demonstrators and soldiers have sealed off the roads leading to the university. Egypt's railway authority says train service in and out of Cairo has been suspended to keep activists from regrouping elsewhere.

Layla Moustafa, an activist in the anti-coup alliance, tells VOA the movement by security forces started early in the morning.

"There were snipers situated on rooftops of buildings near Rabaa. The shootings and dispersals started from approximately seven in the morning today and are ongoing until now."

She said Wednesday's actions will not quell the outcry against Mr. Morsi's opponents.

"Already, protesters are taking to the streets right now, nationwide, in all cities. There have been ongoing protests since yesterday nationwide in all governates."

Officials and witnesses say the unrest began Tuesday when hundreds of Morsi supporters marched on several ministries to protest the military-backed interim government installed after the military deposed Mr. Morsi on July 3.

Local residents and shopkeepers who backed the ouster threw stones at Morsi supporters marching on the Interior Ministry. The protesters retaliated with stones and police fired tear gas to try to break up street confrontations between Morsi's supporters and opponents.

Other supporters of the former president remained at two Cairo protest camps, defying days of warnings that the government may soon try to evict them.

More than 250 people have been killed in political violence since Mr. Morsi's overthrow.

The interim civilian government is moving ahead with a transition plan that involves reforming Egypt's constitution and holding elections early next year.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs