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Africa

Egypt in state of emergency after day of bloodshed

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-08-15

The death toll from a government assault on pro-Morsi camps in Cairo on Wednesday climbed to 421, health officials said Thursday, as a state of emergency was declared in most of the country.

At least 421 people were killed in Egypt on Wednesday as security forces raided two protest camps organized by supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, triggering a wave of violence across the country.

Health officials said 421 people had been killed, including 43 policemen. More than 2,000 people were also injured in one of the bloodiest days in Egypt’s recent history.

The police and army struggled for over 10 hours to completely clear the Cairo encampments, where members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood had entrenched themselves for weeks demanding his return to power.

Most of the casualties were in the Egyptian capital, but at least 15 people were killed in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia Dead in Suez, while ten others died in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, according to medical sources.

Two journalists, including a cameraman working for SkyNews who was at one of the two Cairo camps, were also among the victims, their employers said.

Meanwhile, seven Coptic churches were burned in apparent retaliation for the assault on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The ruling army also declared a one-month state of emergency and imposed a nighttime curfew that started at 9pm local time.

Speaking in a televised speech Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said no sit-ins would be tolerated in the future and praised police for exercising “self-restraint”.

Widespread international condemnation

Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, resigned in protest over the assaults, saying violence could have been avoided.

"I cannot take responsibility before God, my conscience and country for a single drop of blood, especially because I know it was possible to spare it,” he said.

The deadly crackdown sparked widespread condemnation by the international community.

US Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned the violence, saying it had dealt a “serious blow” to political reconciliation efforts between the military-backed interim government and Morsi supporters.

However, the US State Department signaled no change in its generous aid programme to the country.

Turkey and Iran called the crackdown a “massacre” of peaceful protesters.

The Muslim Brotherhood has reportedly called on supporters to protest across the country in response to today's assault.

Find out how the day's events unfolded on our live blog.

Date created : 2013-08-14

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