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Egypt: Islamists defy curfew

15 August 2013, 10:09

Cairo - Protests and violent clashes were reported overnight and into Thursday morning across Egypt as supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi reacted angrily to the deadly police break-up of their protest camps.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood claimed on its website that protest marches had taken place in Egypt's second city, Alexandria, and two other northern provinces, in defiance of a curfew imposed by the military-backed authorities. The reports could not be independently verified.

The official Middle East News Agency reported that thousands of Morsi's supporters had also gathered outside a mosque in eastern Cairo.

Police stations came under attack from Morsi supporters in various parts of the country, according to reports in independent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm and state-run Al-Ahram.

Egyptian Catholic Church spokesperson Father Rafic Greiche said 17 churches had been attacked or burned on Wednesday in the violence that followed the crackdown.

Egyptian health authorities said on Wednesday evening that 278 people were killed across the country after police moved in to break up protests calling for the return of Morsi, who was ousted by the military on 3 July following mass demonstrations against his rule.

The Muslim Brotherhood website quoted the group's spokesperson, Ahmed Aref, as saying that at least 2 600 people had been killed.

Prime Minister Hazem Beblawy insisted in a televised address that the action was necessary "to ensure security and the peace of mind of citizens".

Brotherhood leaders Essam al-Erian and Mohammed al-Beltagi apparently escaped the police round-up at the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp in north-east Cairo.



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