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Africa

Seven die in Cairo as police clash with Morsi supporters

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-07-16

Seven people were killed and 261 wounded in overnight clashes in Cairo between security forces and supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. Officials say more than 400 people have been arrested.

Seven people were killed and 261 wounded in overnight clashes in Cairo between supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi and security forces, hours after a US envoy urged Egypt's army-backed leaders to end violence.

Two people died in clashes around the central Ramses area near Tahrir Square, while another five were killed in Giza, according to emergency services.

Officials said 401 people had been detained following the overnight violence.

FRANCE 24 reporter Sonia Dridi said: “At some sites, local shopkeepers and residents, fed up with the Muslim Brotherhood protests, joined the police.

“These were scenes of violence and chaos.”

The clashes were the deadliest in the Egyptian capital since dozens of pro-Morsi demonstrators were shot dead outside an elite military headquarters the previous Monday.

The violence followed US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns's meeting with Egypt’s interim leaders in Cairo on Monday.

Burns urged the army to avoid "politically motivated arrests" amid growing international unease at the crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

He was speaking after talks with the new leadership, including the army-appointed interim premier Hazem al-Beblawi, who is expected to announce a new cabinet Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Muslim Brotherhood has refused to take any role in the new government and its supporters are still out on the street calling for Morsi's reinstatement.

US ‘not taking sides’

Burns is the first senior US official to visit Egypt since Morsi’s July 3 ouster, which has deeply divided Egyptian society and threatens to jeopardize efforts to return the country to a democratic system of governance.

Speaking to reporters in Cairo shortly after his meetings, Burns maintained that the US does not seek to impose its vision on Egypt. He also reiterated that Washington does not support any particular party or personality.

"We don't take the side of particular personalities or particular parties," he said. "I did not come with American solutions, nor did I come to lecture anyone. We will not try to impose our model on Egypt."

Burns’s visit comes as Morsi supporters and opponents are furious with the US, which provides Egypt with $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

On Monday, FRANCE 24’s Kathryn Stapley said the pro and anti-Morsi camps have not welcomed Burns’s visit.

“The anti-Morsi Tamarod campaign, which spearheaded the big June 30 protest that ousted Mohammed Morsi, has refused to meet with William Burns because, according to the Tamarod campaign, the US is on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Stapley.

“On the other hand,” she added, “the pro-Morsi camp accuses the US of siding with the military because Washington has refused to come out and call what happened here a military coup against a democratically elected leader.”

Under the terms of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, the US must suspend foreign aid to any nation whose elected leader is ousted in a coup d'état.

But Washington has so far declined to call Morsi’s ouster a coup in what analysts say is an attempt by the Obama administration to retain leverage in the world’s most populous Arab nation, which also shares a border and a peace deal with Israel.

Public prosecutor orders arrest of Brotherhood leaders

Nearly two weeks after his ouster, Morsi’s whereabouts have not been publicly revealed, despite calls for his reinstatement by Brotherhood supporters who have maintained a round-the-clock vigil near a mosque in northeast Cairo.

Last week, Egyptian authorities ordered the arrest of several senior Muslim Brotherhood members, a move that prompted the US to warn them against “arbitrary arrests” of political opponents.

On Monday, Egypt’s public prosecutor released a new list of Muslim Brotherhood leaders charged with inciting violence, according to Reuters.

The new list includes leading Brotherhood figures Essam El-Erian and Mohamed El-Beltagi, both of whom were attending a demonstration on Monday, according to the Brotherhood. They were also included in a similar list last week of people charged with inciting violence, but have not been arrested.

Date created : 2013-07-16

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