CAIRO — Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi called Thursday for protest marches after a violent government crackdown triggered clashes across Egypt, leaving more than 500 people dead and the promise of a speedy transition to democracy in tatters.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which backs Morsi, urged followers to demonstrate late Thursday afternoon in Cairo’s Nasr City district not far from the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque, scene of some of the worst violence Wednesday. The Brotherhood issued the call in defiance of a state of emergency declared by the military-backed interim government, which took power following a July 3 coup that deposed the country’s first democratically elected president after a tumultuous year in office.
The Egyptian Health Ministry said Thursday that at least 525 people were killed and more than 3,700 injured in Cairo and other cities and towns in Wednesday’s violence. It began when security forces used bulldozers, tear gas and gunfire in an early morning assault to clear two pro-Morsi encampments in the capital, sparking violent reactions elsewhere. The Interior Ministry said the dead included 43 members of police forces.
It was the deadliest day in Egypt since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, and the fallout dealt a further blow to the prospect that the country might resume its path toward democracy. At least 37 died in clashes in the conservative oasis town of Fayoum; the tolls from other cities were not immediately available.
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