The political situation in Egypt continued to deteriorate and worsen as the military government has declared a month long state of emergency after security forces opened fire on protestors yesterday.
The confrontation began following an attempt to clear supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, following his ouster by the Egyptian military on July 3. The action set off a violent upheaval across the country causing protestors to storm police stations across Egypt’s capital of Cairo. Additionally residents in entire neighborhoods on differing sides of the political have succumbed to fighting amongst themselves resulting in bloodshed.
News agencies have reported that sources on the ground have reported that the violence appears to have spiraled out of control and will only get worse.
The crackdown on protestors began on Wednesday morning around 7 a.m. when state security forces decided to launch a surprise assault on Raba’a al Adiwiya and Nahda squares with tear gas and gunfire. The assault was a departure from previously discussed plans by police to cordon off the area around the protests and prevent them from obtaining food and water.
“I woke up to bulldozers and tents on fire,” said one protester who had been living in Raba’a square for the past month.
During the assault supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood apparently rushed in and surged towards the square to support the protestors but they were forced to retreat as gunfire came from the direction of the security forces.
Official death figures are unclear at this time, the Ministry of Health Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim has said that 235 civilians and 43 policemen died in the assault according to the Associated Press. However, the Muslim Brotherhood is claiming the death toll is much higher, saying that upwards of 2,200 people have been killed and over 10,000 have been wounded.
Pictures available from the scene of the assault published in various newspapers highlight the depths of the violence in the assault. Authorities around the world are fearing that the violence is far from over, noting that the Muslim Brotherhood’s ability to quickly mobilize supporters and burn down several police stations while overwhelming police forces could be a troubling indicator of the tenuous support the interim government may have in the country.
The severity of the resistance by the protestors caused the army to step in to help reinforce police forces who had initiated the crackdown.
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