Defying threats to evict them, thousands of supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi on Sunday staged a sit-in at a mosque here, a day after bloodiest violence that Muslim Brotherhood claimed killed nearly 200 members of their Islamist group.
Vowing to stand their ground despite violent crackdown on their supporters by armed forces, Brotherhood leaders addressed protesters overnight, saying they would not back down from their demands including reinstatement of Morsi.
Sixty-one-year-old Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, was toppled by the military on July 3. Morsi, who is facing criminal charges in many cases, was last seen in public on June 26 and has been detained along with senior aides of his Muslim Brotherhood party. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood’s official website said at least 200 people had been killed and some 5,000 wounded, Ahram Online reported. However, a health ministry official, Khaled El-Khatib, put the death toll from Friday and Saturday’s clashes to 80.
Seventy-two of the casualties fell during violence between police and pro-Morsi supporters on the fringes of a month-long sit-in held by the president’s loyalists in northern Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawia mosque, Ahram Online said.
Eight people were killed in Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria during deadly clashes between pro and anti- Morsi supporters. The official put the tally of injured at 792 nationwide, including 411 in clashes near the pro-Morsi sit-in in Cairo’s Nasr City neighborhood.
Meanwhile, a spokesman from Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood said more than 4,000 were wounded by tear gas and bullet or birdshot wounds in one of the bloddiest days in the nation.
On Saturday’s killings followed a day of rival rallies. The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar mosque - the highest Sunni Muslim authority in Egypt - has called for an investigation, while the vice-president of the interim government, Mohamed ElBaradei, has condemned the excessive use of force.