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Bloody clashes around Egypt leads to 'state of emergency'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 14th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Security forces and supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi continue to rage around Egypt, prompting the declaration of a state of emergency throughout the deeply troubled African nation. The announcement comes after a deadly crackdown by security forces on two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At least 149 people have been killed in clashes around the country. Some members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood report that the death toll was much higher than statistics given by the health ministry.

The state of emergency will last for at least a month, the presidency said in a statement.

"The security and order of the nation face danger due to deliberate sabotage, and attacks on public and private buildings and the loss of life by extremist groups," the presidency said, adding that interim president Adly Mansour "has tasked the armed forces, in cooperation with the police, to take all necessary measures to maintain security and order and to protect public and private property and the lives of citizens."

In related news, interim vice president Mohamed ElBaradei  resigned following the most recent violence. He stated in a letter to the country's leadership that there were still peaceful options for ending the political crisis.

The Interior Ministry reports that 543 pro-Morsi supporters have been arrested nationwide. The arrests came in the wake of incidents related to dispersing the sit-ins of Rabaa and Nahda. Suspects have been charged with the possession of arms including automatic weapons and large amounts of ammunition.

Those covering the crisis, both domestic and international journalists have been killed in the fray. Two reporters were killed while covering the violence: Mick Deane, a cameraman for the U.K.-based Sky News  channel, and Habiba Abd Elaziz, a reporter for the UAE-based Xpress  newspaper, died from gunshot wounds.

The Interior Ministry has declared that security forces had "total control" over Nahda Square, and that "police forces had managed to remove most of the tents" in the area. Security forces had blocked all access to the protest camp.

The cabinet media adviser in a press conference thanked the security forces for "exercising self-control and high-level professionalism in dispersing the sit-ins," and held the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for "escalation and violence."

Pro-Morsi forces have camped in Cairo demanding his reinstatement, who was country's first democratically elected president, whose Freedom and Justice Party was the largest political group in the now dissolved parliament.

Clashes quickly erupted between protesters and security forces on one side of the camp, with automatic fire reverberating across the square. It was not immediately clear who was shooting.

The injured in the incident had been seen being carried away to makeshift medical centers on local TV coverage. Police were also shown dragging away protesters that had defied numerous ultimatums by the army-installed authorities to end their demonstrations.

The Muslim Brotherhood has since urged Egyptians to take to the streets across the country to "stop a massacre."

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