Islamists vowed to rally yesterday in support of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi despite a violent crackdown that sparked Egypt’s worst day of violence for decades, with more than 500 people killed.
As the death toll from the carnage soared, condemnation of Wednesday’s crackdown on two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo poured in, with Britain, France and Germany summoning the country’s ambassadors to express concern.
The Brotherhood, the Islamist movement from which Morsi hails, said a march was planned from the al-Iman mosque in the capital “to protest the death of their relatives.”
The call came after a tense night, following the army-backed interim government’s decision to impose a month-long, nationwide state of emergency and curfews in 14 provinces.
In Cairo, trucks cleared debris from the charred sites of the Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda Square protest camps, occupied for weeks by Morsi loyalists, paralyzing the area.
Posters of Morsi were strewn next to burned tins of food, as light traffic returned to the streets.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health continued to update its toll, saying at least 525 people had been killed across the country on Wednesday, including 43 police.
Despite the violence, Egypt’s press trumpeted the end of the pro-Morsi demonstrations, which had occupied two Cairo squares since the military ousted the Islamist president on July 3.
“The nightmare of the Brotherhood is gone,” the daily al-Akhbar’s front page headline read.
“The Brotherhood’s last battle,” al-Shorouk said.
The newspapers carried photographs of protesters brandishing weapons and throwing stones, but none from makeshift morgues where dead protesters were lined up in rooms slick with blood.
At least four churches were attacked as police broke up the protests, with Christian activists accusing Morsi loyalists of waging “a war of retaliation against Copts in Egypt.”
The day’s violence was Egypt’s worst in decades, exceeding even that seen during the 18-day uprising that ousted former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
An Agence France-Presse correspondent counted at least 124 bodies in makeshift morgues in the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest site and the Brotherhood spoke of 2,200 dead overall and more than 10,000 wounded.