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