Egypt braces for ‘Friday of anger’ after bloody crackdown

August 16, 2013 6:08 am


A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi fires fireworks towards police during clashes in Cairo, on August 14, 2013/AFP
A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi fires fireworks towards police during clashes in Cairo, on August 14, 2013/AFP
CAIRO, Aug 16 – Egypt’s Islamists called for a “Friday of anger” in Cairo after nearly 600 people were killed following a crackdown on their protest camps, as the UN urged “maximum restraint” from all sides.

“Anti-coup rallies… will depart from all mosques of Cairo and head towards Ramsis square after (traditional Friday) prayer in ‘Friday of Anger’,” Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad wrote on Twitter.

The call raised fears of fresh violence after the death toll from nationwide clashes following Wednesday’s operation to clear two protest camps supporting ousted president Mohamed Morsi rose to 578, making it Egypt’s bloodiest day in decades.

There were renewed attacks on security forces during a tense day 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 Assiut.

With the country under a state of emergency and many provinces hit by night-time curfews, the interior ministry ordered police to use live fire if government buildings came under attack.

International criticism of the bloodshed poured in and the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on the crisis at the request of France, Britain and Australia.

Afterwards, the Argentine president of the council urged all parties to exercise “maximum restraint”.

Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, whose country currently presides over the 15-country body, said member states regretted the loss of life in Cairo, called for an end to the violence and spoke of the need to advance “national reconciliation.”

US President Barack Obama led the international outrage at the bloody crackdown, announcing the cancellation of a joint US-Egyptian military exercise.

“While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” he said.

But despite scrapping the Bright Star exercise, which has been scheduled every two years since 1981, he stopped short of suspending Washington’s annual $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt.

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