Deaths reported as Egyptians mark Rabaa massacre

Over 600 protesters were killed by the Egyptian military regime on August 14, 2013 in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda Squares after a coup against elected president Mohamed Morsi

Deaths reported as Egyptians mark Rabaa massacre

World Bulletin / News Desk

At least seven Egyptians were killed on Thursday when security forces dispersed rallies marking the passage of one year since the bloody dispersal of two major sit-ins by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo and Giza, according to sources from Morsi's main support bloc.

A Health Ministry official, however, said that only four deaths were confirmed, including that of a policeman.

According to sources from the pro-Morsi National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, seven people were killed when security troops forcibly broke up protests that marked the first anniversary of the killing of hundreds of Morsi backers in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square and Giza's Nahda Square.

Ahmed Abdel-Wahab, 18, was killed when security forces dispersed a protest in the Sixth of October City, a source from the bloc said.

Khairi al-Shawadfi, from the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, died after being shot in the stomach with birdshot as security forces dispersed a pro-Morsi rally in Giza's Mohandiseen district, another source from the pro-Morsi bloc told AA.

Islam Gamal, 26, was also killed by police gunfire during the dispersal of a similar protest in southern Cairo's Maadi district, the source said.

Three others were also killed after being shot when security forces broke up a pro-Morsi protest in eastern Cairo's Matariya neighborhood, according to another alliance source.

The three slain demonstrators have been identified as Omar Ramadan, 24; Eman Mohamed, 18; and Ahmed Labib, whose age is unknown, the source said.

A sixth fatality was also reported in Mohandiseen, but his or her identity remains unknown, an alliance source said.

Interior Ministry officials were unavailable for comment on the bloc’s assertion, but police usually deny using live ammunition against demonstrators.

Khaled al-Khatib, head of emergency services at the Health Ministry, told AA that that the ministry had only reports confirming the killing of four people, including a policeman. Seventeen others were also injured, he said.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry earlier said a policeman was killed and another wounded in “clashes” with supporters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Demonstrators staged several rallies on Thursday to mark the passage of one year since hundreds of pro-Morsi protesters were gunned down by security forces during the dispersal of twin sit-ins in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square and Nahda Square.

In eastern Cairo's Nasr City district, near the now-iconic Rabaa Square, protesters on Thursday marched in red-stained shrouds to symbolize the killings one year ago.

"The people demand the fall of the regime," they shouted.

Some carried posters of Morsi, who is currently in prison pending multiple trials on charges his supporters insist are fabricated.

Protesters staged additional demonstrations in several other cities across the country to demand the prosecution of officials who ordered last summer's bloody sit-in dispersals.

At least 114 Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested on Thursday for allegedly committing "acts of rioting and violence," the Interior Ministry said.

Thursday's protests came in response to calls by the National Alliance for an "uprising" against Egypt's military-backed government.

The protests come amid stepped-up deployments by Egyptian security forces on main streets and around vital facilities.

Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who won Egypt's first free presidential election in 2012, was ousted by the military in July of last year following protests against his single year in office.

Former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, widely seen as the architect of Morsi's ouster and subsequent imprisonment last summer, was declared winner of a presidential poll conducted in May.

International campaign

An international campaign will be launched by Egyptian groups opposed to the country's current regime to coincide with the first anniversary of the killing of hundreds of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.

The initiative seeks to raise awareness about the incident with a view to advocating for the rights of the victims, campaign organizers said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Egyptian security forces of "systematic" killing of 1150 demonstrators last summer, including at least 817 in Rabaa alone.

The watchdog even suggested the killings "likely" amount to crimes against humanity.

The organizers said the global campaign, dubbed "The Rabaa Story," aims to advocate at the international level for the rights of those killed and injured during what they described as the "Rabaa massacre."

They added that a dedicated website in both Arabic and English will offer a chronology of events from the Egyptian January 25, 2011 revolution until the Rabaa dispersal.

"There will also be promotional ads and special pages on social-networking websites," they added.

New Channel

The campaign organizers said several TV channels, including a new one that would be launched on the anniversary day, would broadcast material related to the bloody dispersal.

Called "Egypt Now," the new channel aims to replace the Muslim Brotherhood-linked "Egypt 25" and "Ahrar 25" channels, both of which were shut down by the authorities upon Morsi's ouster on July 3 of last year.

Sources said a number of TV channels opposed to the current regime planned to make joint broadcasts on Thursday to coincide with the Rabaa anniversary.

The broadcast would include news bulletins, coverage of relevant activities and political discussions.

The April 6 youth movement, which opposes the current regime and Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, has launched a new hashtag – "Rabaa a Massacre" – on Facebook.

The movement said it launched the hashtag in solidarity with "blood, rights and freedoms."

It did not, however, say whether it planned to participate in any of the planned Rabaa-related activities on Thursday.

Along with the new hashtag, April 6 also replaced its profile photo with that of Asmaa al-Beltagi, the young daughter of a leading Muslim Brotherhood member who was killed during the sit-in dispersal.

"This [gesture by April 6] is a humane move that reflects increasing awareness of the massacre that took place that day," Sanaa Abdel-Gawad, Asmaa's mother, told Anadolu Agency.

She expressed hope that opponents of Morsi's ouster would join forces to stand up for the rights of the victims of the sit-in dispersal, including her slain daughter.

The April 6 movement first appeared in 2008 to oppose the policies of former president Hosni Mubarak.

The movement also backed last year's June 30 protests, which led to Morsi's ouster by the army three days later.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ağustos 2014, 17:59