News AU/Associated Press
Bloodbath in Cairo, Egypt, leaves 525 people dead, including Sky News cameraman Mick Deane, VP Mohamed ElBaradei resigns
Egypt declared a state of emergency
Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei resigns
AN AUSTRALIAN tourist said he was beaten and arrested for filming an official shooting at Egyptian protesters, the ABC reports.
Egypt remains under a tense state of emergency after its bloodiest day since the Arab Spring began, with protest camps smashed and at least 525 are thought to have died in the violence that erupted yesterday.
The death toll, which stood at 525, according to the latest Health Ministry figures, makes Wednesday by far the deadliest day since the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime ruler and autocrat Hosni Mubarak - a grim milestone that does not bode well for the future of a nation roiled in turmoil and divisions for the past two years.
Health Ministry spokesman Khaled el-Khateeb put the number of the injured on Wednesday at 3,717.
Near the site of one of the smashed encampments of ousted President Mohammed Morsi's supporters in the eastern Nasr City suburb, an Associated Press reporter on Thursday saw dozens of blood soaked bodies stored inside a mosque. The bodies were wrapped in sheets and still unclaimed by families.
Relatives at the scene were uncovering the faces in an attempt to identify their loved ones. Many complained that authorities were preventing them from obtaining permits to bury them.
El-Khateeb said 202 of the 525 were killed in the Nasr City protest camp, but it was not immediately clear whether the bodies at the mosque were included in that figure.
ONE AUSSIE'S ORDEAL
Australian Dylan Bradbury, 24, told the ABC's The World Today program he was staying in a Cairo hotel when he heard demonstrations followed by gunfire.
"I saw the gunshots going off and people hiding behind walls and stuff and I thought, 'oh wow, you know, I wanna take some video".
He captured footage of a uniformed official shooting down a laneway when police saw him recording.
Mr Bradbury said he was dragged into the middle of the chaos and had his friend's phone taken from him. He then was taken to a police station, he said, where alleges he was assaulted.
"I was walking up the stairs (when) a guy kicked me in the chest."
BROTHERHOOD CALLS FOR CAIRO MARCH
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood called for a march in Cairo today, a day after bloody crackdown on its supporters who occupied protest camps demanding the reinstatement of president Mohamed Morsi.
The Brotherhood said the planned march would set off from the Al-Iman mosque in the capital "to protest the death of their relatives".
GAZA BORDER CROSSING CLOSED INDEFINITELY
Egyptian authorities have closed the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip "indefinitely" for security reasons after a day of deadly violence nationwide," a security official told AFP today.
Hundreds of Palestinian travellers were left stranded on both sides of the crossing, the only gateway into the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory that bypasses Israel, witnesses said.
The measure follows widespread unrest in Egypt after a bloody crackdown by security forces on loyalists of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
NEWSPAPERS AROUND THE WORLD CONDEMN THE VIOLENCE
The Times in London described the assault in Cairo, as a "massacre" and warned the legitimacy of Egypt's interim regime "hangs by a thread".
"This was a massacre. The (Muslim) Brotherhood has not been blameless in the period of simmering anarchy since its removal from power, but yesterday's operation was out of all proportion to any provocation," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"It will almost certainly prove self-defeating."
It urged Washington to act, suggesting it delay the shipment of F16 fighters and withhold extra funds promised last year for civilian uses, saying that "quiet acquiescence will be interpreted across the Muslim world as tacit support".
The New York Times went further, calling on President Barack Obama to suspend the $1.3 billion in annual US aid to the Egyptian military, saying the latest bloodbath in Cairo risked sparking civil war.
"Egypt's ruling generals have demonstrated beyond any lingering doubt that they have no aptitude for, and apparently little interest in, guiding their country back to democracy," the paper said in an editorial.
Under an editorial entitled "Egypt's democracy dies a violent death", the Financial Times said it too had lost faith in the military-backed government's willingness and ability to guide the country towards inclusive elections.
However, it also laid blame on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, who "have refused every offer of negotiation", and urged Turkey and Qatar to step up efforts to pressure the movement into finding a political solution to the crisis.
In France, Le Monde said the crackdown and the imposition of a state of emergency was a "terrible step backwards"."It negates everything that has been achieved since the revolution in January 2011," which had ousted longtime ruler Mubarak.
In Germany, the Berliner Zeitung daily said the brutality of the Egyptian police and military "seems to confirm the worst fears" that the army-backed government "in no way aims for a fresh democratic start".
The Economist magazine added: "The scale of the unrest and the depth of the country's wounds are a grim omen for the future."
TURKEY PRESSES SECURITY COUNCIL TO ACT
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting over Egypt's bloody crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, which has left hundreds dead.
"The Security Council of the United Nations should convene quickly to discuss the situation in Egypt," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.
"This is a very serious massacre... against the Egyptian people who were only protesting peacefully," he added, criticising "the silence'' of the global community in the face of the bloodshed.
Egypt's day of violence on Wednesday, triggered when security forces moved in to break up pro-Morsi protest camps, was the worst since the 2011 uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED
Egyptians emerged today from an all-night curfew imposed after the worst violence since their 2011 uprising, with 464 people killed as security forces broke up protests supporting ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
The army-backed interim government imposed a month-long nationwide state of emergency, and curfews in Cairo and 13 other provinces.
Shortly after the curfew ended on Thursday morning, light traffic began returning to Cairo's streets, with roads blocked for weeks by the pro-Morsi protests now reopened.
Yesterday crushed, dazed and chanting "Down, down with military rule!" hundreds of supporters of Egypt's ousted president streamed out of a protest camp that had come to symbolize the resistance of Arab Spring Islamists.
It now resembled a war zone - covered in debris, with thick black smoke billowing skyward.
Sitting helplessly on the ground, exhausted by hours of inhaling tear gas, they pondered their next move as Egypt's bloodiest day in years came to an end.
At one point, protesters trapped a police Humvee on an overpass near the Nasr City camp and pushed it off, according to images posted on social networking sites that showed an injured policeman on the ground below, near a pool of blood and the overturned vehicle.
The van plunged off the 6th October Bridge before demonstrators attacked the wreckage. It is not known how many people were on board and how many people survived the fall
A DAY OF BLOODSHED
For more than 12 hours, security forces in black-clad body armor and helmets, backed by snipers, military helicopters and armored vehicles, used bulldozers to sweep away the encampment occupied by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
Army troops did not take part in the two operations.
The crackdown drew widespread condemnation from the Muslim world and the West, including the US, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei resigned as the interim vice president in protest - a blow to the new leadership's credibility with the pro-reform movement.
"Today was a difficult day,'' interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said in a televised address to the nation. While he regretted the bloodshed, he offered no apologies for moving against the supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, saying they were given ample warnings to leave and he had tried foreign mediation efforts.
At least four churches were attacked, with Christian activists accusing Morsi loyalists of waging "a war of retaliation against Copts in Egypt".
"What was horrifying today were the snipers. The sound of bullets was extremely frightening," said Mosa'ab Elshamy, a freelance photographer who said he was standing next to a medic who was shot in the head by sniper fire around noon.
"Most of the corpses I saw in the field hospital had been shot in the head or chest," said Elshamy, who was in the camp for more than six hours during the clashes. In two main morgues, he said he counted 65 bodies.
Among those killed in Cairo was 17-year-old Asmaa al-Beltagui, daughter of wanted Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed al-Beltagui, a spokesman for Morsi's movement said.
Located near the Rabbah al-Adawiya Mosque that has served as the epicenter of the pro-Morsi campaign, the tent city was erected six weeks ago to show support for Morsi and demand his reinstatement after his overthrow in a July 3 military coup.Smoke and flames poured from all corners of the camp, where cars and tents were set alight, along with wood fires set by the protesters in an effort to lessen the impact of tear gas.
It was in stark contrast to the festive mood that had prevailed in recent weeks, when couples got married and clerics took to the stage to announce they saw angels in their dreams that were a sign of impending victory. Posters with Morsi's image and slogans calling him the "legitimate president" were plastered on tents and light poles, while giant loudspeakers played some of his fiery speeches and women chanted "Morsi is my president."
During the first hour of the crackdown, protesters said they tried to stop the bulldozers by lying on the pavement in front of the vehicles.
"We stood in the face of the bulldozers. I was injured in the arm by gunfire," said a 24-year-engineer, Yasser Mohammed.
Witnesses said the protesters took over a building under construction, where they hurled firebombs down on the troops below.
"We are trying to prevent security forces from going toward the stage and the mosque. They are using live ammunition and we are using rocks and Molotov cocktails," said Ahmed Shaker, a 28-year-old chemist carrying several beer bottles for that purpose.
"All the people who are here are ready to die," declared Shaker, the father of a 2-year-old girl, Yassmin. "When they took to the streets they knew it was a possibility and they won't backtrack. I already wrote my will and gave my wife the number of my bank account and told her who owes us money and who we owe money to. If I have to die I will die."
At a field hospital set up behind the mosque, Abdullah Sayyed, a 25-year-old doctor, said he was receiving wounded patients every 10 minutes.
"We had hundreds of cases," he said pointing to shattered glass near the makeshift clinic, which he said had come under fire several times. Inside, pools of blood covered the floors.
Mohammed Magdi, a 29-year-old cardiologist, said "dozens of bodies" had been brought to the clinic.
"We extract bullets and fix broken bones," said another doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. He said the gunfire came from both snipers and helicopters.
Ahmed Salah, 40, who suffered bullet wounds to the hand and chest, said: "The bullet is still here. I need a surgery to remove it, but I can't go out."
Authorities said the encampment had been heavily armed and footage aired on state TV showed security forces uncovering stashes of ammunition and hand guns after storming the site.
As the crackdown came to a close around 7pm, hundreds of people streamed through a safe passage left open by security forces for those who were not wanted by authorities.
They included women cloaked in black niqabs that covered all but their eyes, men in long beards, children with their parents, carrying bags, pillows and luggage. Dozens of the injured, their clothes stained with blood, were carried out on stretchers, in wheelchairs or in the arms of friends.
Many broke into tears as they walked wearily or collapsed onto the pavement as sporadic gunfire rang out a short distance away.
"They killed us," a woman in black Islamic dress shouted hysterically.
Others chanted, "El-Sissi, illegitimate," in reference to the powerful military chief, Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, who removed Morsi from power and had urged Egyptians to take to the streets to show support for the military's move against the protest camps.
Others, lamenting the killing of a friend or family member, whispered, "No God but Allah."
Many had taken refuge inside the mosque, which after hours of clashes in its vicinity was turned into a target of sniper fire and tear gas.
"We were locked inside the mosque," said 27-year-old Abdel-Rahman Ghozlan, carrying a prayer rug on his shoulder. "They were firing tear gas and live ammunition from all around us and we were trapped inside the mosque."
An hour later, he said, commandos entered and forced them all to leave.
Nearby, a 37-year-old ultra-conservative Salafi Muslim sat on a side street, clutching his injured leg. He said security forces had forced him out of the field hospital. "The medical center was filled with tear gas," he said, breaking into tears.
Nearby, a man shouted to those around him not to leave, reminding them of the protesters' pledge: "Do not leave but die here."
Three journalists were among the dead: Mick Deane, 61, a cameraman for British broadcaster Sky News; Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, 26, a reporter for the Gulf News, a state-backed newspaper in the United Arab Emirates; and Ahmed Abdel Gawad, who wrote for Egypt's state-run newspaper Al Akhbar. Deane and Elaziz were shot to death, their employers said, while the Egyptian Press Syndicate, a journalists' union, said it had no information on how Gawad was killed.
The Great Pyramids just west of Cairo were closed to visitors for the day together with the Egyptian museum in the heart of the city. The Central Bank instructed commercial banks to close branches in areas affected by the chaos.
Security officials said train services between northern and southern Egypt were suspended to prevent Morsi supporters from traveling to Cairo. Clashes erupted on two roads in the capital's upscale Mohandiseen district when Morsi supporters opened fire on passing cars and pedestrians. Police used tear gas to chase them away.
The government declared a monthlong nationwide state of emergency and imposed a nighttime curfew on Cairo, Alexandria on the Mediterranean and 12 other provinces where violence broke out following the simultaneous raids.
It also ordered the armed forces to support the police in restoring law and order and protect state facilities. Egypt was under emergency law for most of Mubarak's 29 years in power.
The turmoil was the latest chapter in a bitter standoff between Morsi's supporters and the interim leadership that took over the Arab world's most populous country. The military ousted Morsi after millions of Egyptians massed in the streets at the end of June to call for him to step down, accusing him of giving the Brotherhood undue influence and failing to implement vital reforms or bolster the ailing economy.
(photos added by Axis of Logic)