12 Dead in Cairo Violence



CAIRO — A long night of political bloodshed in Egypt left at least 12 people dead on Tuesday, wounded 86 and seemed to dispel any notion that the military’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi nearly three weeks ago would quickly provide the security that Egypt’s generals covet.

The death toll was the highest in a single stretch since July 8, when at least 62 people were killed by gunfire from soldiers and police officers who shot at a group of Mr. Morsi’s supporters.

Images of the latest fighting between Mr. Morsi’s supporters and opponents, which began on Monday, were jarring. Civilians, including a well-known actor, were seen firing weapons during running battles near Cairo landmarks.

The clashes, which flared in several Cairo neighborhoods and north of the city, offered further proof that the country’s warring political forces were content to let their feud play out in the streets. As Egypt’s new military-backed government has moved swiftly to assert its authority, Mr. Morsi’s movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, has refused, at least publicly, to abandon its determination to see him restored.

“The violence is a reflection of the political deadlock and the inability to find a way out,” said Khalil al-Anani, a leading academic expert on Egyptian politics and political Islam. And on both sides, he said, “the camps that favor confrontation have the upper hand.”

Egypt’s post-Morsi government, its authority in dispute, has given little indication that it has a solution to the bloodshed. On Tuesday, officials gave mixed messages about their approach.

A spokesman for the interim president, Adli Mansour, delivered a stern warning to Mr. Morsi’s supporters, saying that “Egypt will not be a second Syria, and those who push in that direction are traitors,” according to the state news media.

“Those wheezing as they chase foreign media, and who run after the capitals of the West to falsify the facts of the revolution and the Egyptian state, will only get shame and disgrace,” he said.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate, who serves as one of Mr. Mansour’s vice presidents, struck a more conciliatory note, urging the newly appointed justice minister to investigate the July 8 killings, as well as the recent killings of three pro-Morsi demonstrators in the city of Mansura.

“Transitional justice and national reconciliation based on accepting the other is our only option,” he wrote on Twitter. “I pray to God that we understand that violence doesn’t dress wounds, it opens new ones.”

The bloodshed has spread beyond the political fights in the capital, intensifying the sense of a vacuum in leadership. Violence has flared in the Sinai Peninsula, where civilians and more than a dozen soldiers have been killed in attacks by unidentified militants since the military takeover on July 3.

Two days later, the authorities stood by as an angry crowd set upon Christian families near Luxor, killing four people, after the body of a Muslim man was found near Christian homes. In a report released on Tuesday, Amnesty International said that “security forces on the scene made only halfhearted attempts to end the violence.”

The group said it had “documented a series of cases in the past where Egypt’s security forces used unnecessary force or live fire during demonstrations, yet in this case, they held back, even though people’s lives were threatened.”

The latest fighting in Cairo was apparently set off by Mr. Morsi’s supporters, during a provocative march near the opposition stronghold in Tahrir Square. Other clashes were murkier, and on Tuesday, the Muslim Brotherhood accused the police of joining attacks on its supporters or providing cover for plainclothes thugs. At a news conference, medics displayed graphic pictures of victims with gunshot wounds. In a protest square near Cairo University for Mr. Morsi’s supporters, cars gutted by fire or with smashed windows marked the site of fighting that killed nine people.

“We want security!” a sobbing man yelled to friends who tried to console him. A mother and her two children, carrying suitcases, made their way out of the square.

The violence has peaked as Mr. Morsi’s supporters have intensified their protests with daily marches in cities around Egypt, to publicize what they call a “putsch” by the army. The marches also seem designed to create the kind of chaos that the Brotherhood accused Mr. Morsi’s opponents of fomenting to undermine his presidency.

Source: NY Times

Leave A Reply