News Column

Muslim Brotherhood's Followers Rally Against Military in Egypt

August 16, 2013

Thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood's followers in Egypt on Friday flocked to protest the killing of hundreds of the Islamist group's supporters in a police crackdown earlier in the week.

Worshippers left mosques in Cairo and its twin city of Giza following Friday prayers and headed to Ramsis Square in central Cairo. An unspecified number of people were injured in an attack by gunmen on a police station in Ramsis, said a dpa witness.

Other marches were reported in Alexandria, Egypt's second biggest city, the Delta province of Tanata and Assiut in southern Egypt.

The rallies were in response to a call by the Brotherhood to hold mass protests dubbed "Day of Rage."

Holding portraits of the deposed president, Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood, the protesters chanted: "You should go, Sissi," referring to army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, who stage-managed Morsi's overthrow on July 3.

The demonstrators also chanted slogans against the military-backed authorities for approving the evacuation of two pro-Morsi camps in Cairo on Wednesday.

At least 578 people were killed in the crackdown and ensuing violence in Egypt, according to government figures. The Brotherhood insists the death toll reach 2,600.

Four further people were killed Friday and 20 wounded in clashes near a mosque in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, said security sources.

The deaths occurred in fighting between police and Brotherhood followers, they added.

One policeman was, meanwhile, killed and two injured in an attack allegedly mounted by Islamist insurgents on a security checkpoint on the outskirts of Cairo.

This brings to 51 the total number of policemen killed in Egypt since Wednesday, according to the Interior Ministry.

Under emergency rules declared by the military-installed government, police are allowed to use firearms in self-defence.

Military and police personnel were out in force on Egypt's main roads Friday. Security authorities set up checkpoints in Cairo and other cities to prevent Morsi's supporters from rallying.

The army's overthrow of Morsi, after protests by millions demanding he step down, has deeply divided Egypt and raised fears of civil war in the Arab world's most populous country, home to 85 million people.

The police clampdown on pro-Morsi vigils drew international condemnation.

Germany said Friday it had suspended aid totalling 25 million euros (33.4 million dollars) to Egypt as a result of the escalating violence.

Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel announced he was halting the funds under a programme for climate and environmental protection.

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said the Netherlands was putting on hold some 8 million euros (10.6 million dollars) worth of development aid.

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said the European Union, the United States and "others" tried to stop the violence. "But this mediation failed. And the reaction of the military have been, frankly speaking, brutal, overwhelming and inexcusable," she said on CNN.

Marta Dassu, one of Bonino's deputies, said on Italian radio that when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels next week, Italy will propose a European Union arms embargo on Egypt. Rome has already stopped its military shipments to Cairo, Bonino said Thursday.

Egypt and Turkey have recalled their ambassadors over the Cairo clampdown, condemned by Ankara as a "massacre."

US President Barack Obama cancelled joint military exercises with Egypt planned next month. He did not mention the status of more than one billion dollars in US military aid to Egypt.

Egypt's military-backed government rebuked Obama's remarks, which it said "strengthen violent armed groups."

For more stories covering politics, please see HispanicBusiness' Politics Channel

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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