Bloodiest day since revolution marks new ‘beginning’ for Egypt
Military raids on protest camps and vicious battles that followed left scores dead Wednesday in Cairo, starting a new turn in the tumultuous cycle that has rocked Egypt for more than two years. Clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy made it the country’s bloodiest single day since the 2011 revolution that ousted the previous president, longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak. “It’s an open war,” said one protester who managed to escape one of the two protest camps. At least 278 people were killed in Wednesday’s violence, including 235 dead civilians, state TV reported, citing an Egyptian emergency official. Additionally, interim Interior Minister Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim said that 43 police officers were killed.
“I think what we’re seeing right now is just the beginning of what is promising to be a very, very long and bloody battle as the interim government and the security forces try to regain control of the streets,” CNN’s Arwa Damon reported from Cairo.
Both sides accused the other of being the aggressor. Protesters accused security forces of violently cracking down on them. Ibrahim, meanwhile, said he was “surprised” by the “Muslim Brotherhood’s (decision) to attack the security forces,” claiming that armed protesters went after police stations, the Ministry of Finance building and other targets. Mohammed ElBaradei resigned as vice president of foreign affairs, state-run Nile TV reported. Egypt declared a monthlong state of emergency beginning at 4 p.m. (11 a.m. ET), according to state television. A curfew was also established in several cities including Cairo, from 7 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday — and all violators will be jailed, state news reported. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the events in Egypt “are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy.”