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Egypt's Imposed Curfew Begins

posted 14 Aug 2013, 13:25 by Mpelembe   [ updated 14 Aug 2013, 13:25 ]

A curfew imposed across Egypt begins after a protest camp of thousands of supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi were crushed by Egyptian security forces.

CAIROEGYPT (AUGUST 14, 2013) (REUTERS) -  A curfew imposed in Cairo, Alexandria and several provinces began at 9 p.m. on Wednesday (August 14) after a protest camp of thousands of supporters ofdeposed president Mohamed Mursi were crushed by Egyptian security forces.

Security shot dead scores of people in the bloodiest day in decades in the Arab world's biggest country.

The health ministry said 149 people were killed, both in Cairo and in clashes that broke out elsewhere in the country. Deposed President Mohamed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood said the death toll was far higher in what it described as a "massacre".

Security guard, Hussein Zaki, felt the imposed curfew and bringing an end to the protest camp should have happened sooner than Wednesday.

"What happened today should have happened a very long time ago; this should happen because the situation of the country was worse than we know," Zaki said. "This should have happened from the day people took to the streets to give (General Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi permission (to deal with terrorism and violence)."

One Cairo resident blamed both the Muslim Brotherhood and the military chiefAbdel Fattah al-Sisi were responsible for the polarisation of the country.

"Well for starters I want to say that the Muslim Brotherhood started the country's divide, and Sisi finished it," said optician, Ibrahim Mostafa. "He is responsible for everything that is happening now because he is a dictator."

While dead bodies wrapped in carpets were carried to a makeshift morgue near theRabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the army-backed rulers declared a one-month state of emergency, restoring to the military the unfettered power it wielded for decades before a pro-democracy uprising in 2011.

Thousands of Mursi's supporters had been camped at two major sites in Cairosince before he was toppled on July 3, and had vowed not leave the streets until he was returned to power.

Violence spread beyond Cairo, with Mursi supporters and security forces clashing in the cities of Alexandria, Minya, Assiut, Fayoum and Suez and in Buhayra andBeni Suef provinces.

With the assault on the camps, the authorities have ended the six-week stand-off with a show of state force that defied international pleas for restraint.

The bloodshed also effectively ends the open political role of the Brotherhood, which survived for 85 years as an underground movement before emerging from the shadows after the 2011 uprising to win every election held since.

In one a rare sign of unease from among the Brotherhood's opponents, Mohamed ElBaradei, a former U.N. diplomat, quit his post of vice president in the army-backed government, saying the conflict could have been resolved by peaceful means.

Since Mursi was toppled, the security forces had twice before killed scores of protesters in an attempt to drive Mursi's followers off the streets. But they had held back from a full-scale assault on the tented camp where followers and their families have lived behind makeshift barricades.

After the assault on the camp began, desperate residents recited Koranic verse and screamed "God help us! God help us!" while helicopters hovered overhead and armoured bulldozers ploughed over their makeshift defences.

Reuters journalists on the scene saw masked police in dark uniforms pour out of police vans with sticks and tear gas bombs. They tore down tents and set them ablaze.