CAIRO, (SANA): Supporters of Egypt’s ousted Egyptian President Dr Mohamed Morsi pledged to press their protests on Sunday, a day after bloody clashes at a Cairo sit-in killed at least 250 people. The numbers of deaths and injuries have reached at extent where the room in hospitals has become short and doors of the hospitals have been closed for further dead bodies and injured persons.
Meanwhile US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by telephone with Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the July 3 military overthrow of Mursi and whose face has since appeared on posters across the capital Cairo.
US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to two senior members of Egypt’s army-installed interim cabinet, expressing his deep concern. He has demanded of the Egyptian government to respect the freedom of expression right.
“This is a pivotal moment for Egypt,” he said in a statement. “The United States…calls on all of Egypt’s leaders across the political spectrum to act immediately to help their country take a step back from the brink.”
Imam of the Jamia Al-Azhar has demanded the investigations into the killings of Morsi supporters. Vice President Muhammad Al-Bradai has said that severe kind of force has been used.
Sporadic violence was reported nationwide overnight, including in the Suez Canal city of Port Said. Saturday’s violence in the capital drew international and domestic condemnation, including from Washington, a key backer of the Egyptian army.
Following the clashes near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque where Morsi loyalists have been camped out for weeks, the interior minister pledged to disperse the protests “soon”.
But the violence and the warning did not appear to have thinned the ranks at the Cairo demonstration, where a core group of several thousand protesters remained.
And Gehad El-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, said demonstrators were angry but “hugely defiant” after Saturday’s deaths. He said the supporters of the Morsi would remain on the roads until and unless ousted president is restored.
Men in helmets and black police fatigues fired on crowds gathered before dawn on the fringes of a round-the-clock sit-in near a mosque in northeast Cairo, Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement said.
The bloodshed, near the military parade ground where President Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981, plunged the Arab world’s most populous country deeper into turmoil following two turbulent years of transition to democracy since veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak was swept from power.
Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Aref said 66 people had been killed and another 61 were “brain dead” on life support machines. More than 4,000 were treated for the effects of tear gas and gunshot or birdshot wounds, he told reporters. “Innocent blood was spilled,” he said. “We have gone back 10 years.”
Activists rushed blood-spattered casualties into a makeshift hospital. Some were carried in on planks or blankets. One ashen teenager was laid out on the floor, a bullet hole in his head.
Egypt’s Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim accused the Brotherhood of exaggerating the death toll for political ends and denied that police had opened fire.
Ibrahim said local residents living close to the Rabaa al-Adawia mosque vigil had clashed with protesters in the early hours after they had blocked off a major bridge road. He said that police had used teargas to try to break up the fighting.
Well over 200 people have been killed in violence since the army toppled Mursi on July 3, following huge protests against his year in power. The army denies accusations it staged a coup, saying it intervened to prevent national chaos.
Meanwhile the United States urged Egypt to pull “back from the brink” after security forces killed dozens of supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi and opened a dangerous new phase in the army’s confrontation with his Muslim Brotherhood.
Thousands of Brotherhood activists were hunkered down in a vigil at a Cairo mosque on Sunday, promising to stand their ground despite Saturday’s bloodshed when at least 250 pro-Mursi supporters were shot dead.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch said the killings suggested a “shocking willingness” by police and some politicians to ratchet up violence against their foes.
Backers and opponents of the ousted President Morsi clashed before dawn on Sunday in the Suez Canal city of Port Said, firing birdshot at each other before soldiers intervened, security sources said. Fifteen people were hurt in the violence.