Tense calm in Cairo after massacre

Traffic was allowed into Rabaa al-Adawiya Square for the first time in 48 days, as cleaning crews cleared the destroyed tent city in the aftermath of the Wednesday's violent crackdown

Tense calm in Cairo after massacre

A state of tense calm prevailed on Thursday morning in the vicinity of Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, the scene of a deadly security crackdown one day earlier on supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Traffic was allowed into the square for the first time in 48 days, as cleaning crews cleared the destroyed tent city in the aftermath of the crackdown, which left burnt cars, crushed tents and smashed sidewalks in its wake. The once-white Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque, meanwhile, was left charred black.

Tensions were high in another nearby mosque, which houses the bodies of Morsi supporters cut down during the police operation. Nasr City's Iman Mosque received at least 350 bodies, many of them completely charred, after the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque was set on fire late Wednesday.

"In the past few hours, many burnt bodies have been found inside tents and in streets adjacent to the square," one doctor, preferring anonymity, told the Anadolu Agency, noting that many bodies had been burnt beyond recognition.

Feelings of shock and sorrow cast their shadow over the mosque as grief-stricken relatives were unable to identify their missing loved ones.

The police crackdown on the square left at least 202 dead, out of 525 deaths nationwide registered by the Health Ministry. 

However, the official death toll remains far below figures given by the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, a coalition of pro-Morsi Islamist parties and figures, which has put the number of deaths from the dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in alone at some 2,600.

Similar scenes were seen Thursday morning in Giza's Nahda Square, the site of a smaller sit-in that was also violently dismantled on Wednesday. According to Health Ministry figures, at least 87 people were killed there.

As news broke of the deadly crackdowns, angry protesters took to the streets in provinces across the country.

In the canal city of Ismailia, skirmishes between Morsi supporters and police forces raged near a court complex close to the governor's headquarters. At least 18 people -- 11 protesters and seven security personnel -- were killed in the violence, Ibrahim al-Desouki, head of the city's ambulance service, said.

Violence was also reported in the provinces of Suez, Alexandria, Assiut, Fayoum, Minya, Sharqiya, Beheira, and North Sinai.

News of the massive death toll also triggered a wave of attacks against police stations and churches across the country. At least 18 churches and 31 police facilities were reportedly targeted on Wednesday.

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim accused Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group of being behind the attacks on police facilities, including one in Kerdasa, south of Cairo, where, the ministry claimed, protesters stormed a police station and killed four police officers before mutilating their bodies.

Ibrahim asserted that at least 43 police officers had been killed nationwide on Wednesday.

In a bid to impose law and order, the government declared an eleven-hour daily curfew in 14 provinces -- to last for one month -- starting Wednesday. On Wednesday evening, the streets of the usually-bustling capital were eerily quiet.  

The government-imposed curfew prompted groups of young men to stand guard at neighborhood entry points to fill the security vacuum caused by the preoccupation of the police with clearing the pro-Morsi sit-ins.

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ağustos 2013, 15:37
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