Supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president are vowing to defy a state of emergency with new protests on Saturday, the day after marches in Cairo devolved into the fiercest street battles that the capital has seen in more than two years.

Over 80 people were killed Friday in what the Muslim Brotherhood group called a “Day of Rage”- ignited by anger at security forces for clearing two sit-in demonstrations earlier in the week, leaving hundreds dead. Police and armed vigilantes at neighborhood checkpoints battled Muslim Brotherhood-led protesters, with the sight of residents firing at one another marking a dark turn in the conflict.

Military helicopters hovered over downtown as residents furious with the Brotherhood protests pelted marchers with rocks and glass bottles. The two sides also fired on one another, sparking running street battles throughout the capital’s residential neighborhoods.

Across the country, at least 72 civilians were killed, along with 10 police officers, security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The violence capped off a week that saw more than 700 people killed across the country – surpassing the combined death toll from two and a half years of violent protests since the ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak until the toppling of President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood, in a July 3 coup.

Unlike in past clashes between protesters and police, Friday’s violence introduced a combustible new mix, with residents and police in civilian clothing battling the marchers.

Few police in uniform were seen as neighborhood watch groups and pro-Morsi protesters fired at one another for hours on a bridge that crosses over Cairo’s Zamalek district, an upscale island neighborhood where many foreigners and ambassadors reside.

Friday’s violence erupted shortly after midday prayers when tens of thousands of Brotherhood supporters answered the group’s call to protest across Egypt in defiance of a military-imposed state of emergency following the bloodshed earlier this week.

Armed civilians manned impromptu checkpoints throughout the capital, banning Brotherhood marches from approaching and frisking anyone wanting to pass through. At one, residents barred ambulances and cars carrying wounded from Cairo’s main battleground, Ramses Square, from reaching a hospital.

Several of the protesters said they were ready to die, writing their names and relatives’ phone numbers on one another’s chests and undershirts in case they were killed in Friday’s clashes.

Tawfik Dessouki, a Brotherhood supporter, said he was fighting for “democracy” and against the military’s ouster of Morsi.

“I am here for the blood of the people who died. We didn’t have a revolution to go back to a police and military state again and to be killed by the state,” he said during a march headed toward Ramses Square.

At least 12 people were killed near the square as some in the crowd tried to attack a police station, security officials said. Inside a mosque off Ramses Square, where the Brotherhood urged its Cairo supporters to converge, blood-soaked bodies with bullets to the head and chest lay next to one another.

The mosque-turned-morgue was also being used as a field hospital where the wounded were being wheeled in on wooden crates. One corpse had a name and phone number scribbled on the chest.

The Facebook page of the army spokesman, Col. Mohammed Ali, accused gunmen of firing from the mosque at nearby buildings. The upper floors of a commercial building towering over Ramses Square caught fire during the mayhem, with flames engulfing it for hours.

Similar battles played out in cities across the country, where people brandishing weapons attacked police and residents fired at one another.

Gunmen targeted police check points and at least 10 police stations came under attack. Egypt’s security forces were rocked by the country’s 2011 uprising that toppled Mubarak and have not fully recovered since.

In the canal city of Suez, 14 people were killed in clashes between protesters and security forces. In Egypt’s second-largest city of Alexandria, 10 people were killed during clashes between the two rival camps. Security officials said violence was also fierce in the province of Fayoum, just west of Cairo, where seven people were killed during an attempt to storm the main security building there, a security official said. Two policemen died in the attack.

In the southern province of Minya, protesters attacked two Christian churches, security officials said. At churches across the country, residents formed human chains to try to protect them from further assaults, and a civilian was killed while trying to protect a church in Sohag, south of Cairo, authorities said.

Many of Morsi’s supporters have criticized Egypt’s Christian minority for largely supporting the military’s decision to remove him from office, and dozens of churches have been attacked this week.

Mourad Ali, a spokesman for the Brotherhood, denounced the attacks on churches, saying they ran counter to Islamic principles and were an attempt to ignite sectarian divisions.

“Our stance is clear … We strongly condemn any attack – even verbal – on churches and on Coptic property. This holds true whether or not Coptic leaders joined in or supported the July 3 coup … This does not justify any attack on them,” he said in an online statement.

More than 800 people were arrested in Friday’s clashes, including local Brotherhood leaders in the provinces. The group’s top figures are facing charges of inciting violence and some have been imprisoned for weeks. Morsi has been held at an undisclosed location and is facing a criminal investigation.

Morsi, a longtime Brotherhood leader, was ousted by the military after days of mass protests against him. He was accused by his critics of failing to govern inclusively and Cairo witnessed street clashes between his supporters and opponents on at least three occasions during his year in office, though the fighting was confined to key areas of the capital and not nearly as fierce or deadly as Friday’s violence.

The revolutionary and liberal groups that helped topple Morsi have largely stayed away from the street rallies in recent weeks. The Popular Current, a leftist anti-Morsi group, said they were “astounded” by how some in the international community have denounced Wednesday’s move against the Islamist protest camps as “state violence against civilians.”

The statement reflected widespread sentiment that the Cairo sit-ins had to be dispersed after the government issued warnings to protesters over the past several weeks.

The government, bolstered by wealthy Arab Gulf states opposed to the Brotherhood, has branded the crackdown on Islamists as part of a wider fight against “terrorists”.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, whose country has pledged $5 billion in aid to interim leaders in Egypt, said the kingdom stood by the country in its fight against “terrorism and strife” – a thinly veiled reference to the Brotherhood.

Egypt’s military-backed government released a statement Friday accusing “terrorist groups” and “outlaws” of confronting security forces, which it said must “stand together against a terrorist plot.” The interim Cabinet authorized police to use of deadly force against anyone targeting police and state institutions a day earlier.

Egyptian state television showed footage of armed Brotherhood supporters under the banner headline “Egypt Fights Terrorism”.

The Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, said in a statement Friday that the group is not backing down.

“We are not only dealing with the disbandment of a sit-in, but with the extermination of the Egyptian people to subject them to military rule with steel and fire,” the group said in a statement, warning that differences will deepen.

The international community has urged both sides to show restraint and end the turmoil engulfing the nation. The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Friday that the death toll over the last few days is “shocking” and that responsibility weighs heavily on the interim government and the wider political leadership in Egypt.

Egyptian prosecutors charge Morsi with espionage, conspiracy

Egyptian authorities on Friday took their first formal legal steps against Mohamed Morsi since he was deposed as president earlier this month, ordering his detention, charging him with espionage and conspiracy and investigating him on other counts, as massive crowds of rival demonstrators took to the streets to support or protest his ouster.

Judicial authorities charged Morsi with spying for the militant Islamist organization Hamas and conspiring with the group in a 2011 prison break that freed him and other Muslim Brotherhood members during the Arab Spring uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

Prosecutors also opened an investigation into charges that included murder and kidnapping. Those accusations were also connected to the prison break northwest of Cairo, in which Hamas gunmen allegedly attacked the facility at the behest of Morsi and the Brotherhood, killing 14 guards. The Brotherhood denies the charges, saying local residents carried out the attack to free their relatives. Morsi was formally ordered detained for 15 days.

The judicial announcement was the first official comment on Morsi’s legal status since he was ousted in a July 3 coup, and it came as tens of thousands of people demonstrated for and against the military’s mandate to crack down on Morsi’s Islamist supporters. Egypt’s military has held the former president incommunicado in an undisclosed location since the coup.

Clashes erupted in the coastal city of Alexandria when plainclothes men attacked a pro-Morsi protest with rocks and rubber bullets, witnesses said. The state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported that at least two people died in the clashes. A spokeswoman for the Brotherhood-led Anti-Coup, Pro-Democracy movement said at least 19 others were injured by the attackers, who she said included uniformed police officers.

Pro-Morsi protesters were kneeling to pray when “thugs attacked,” said the spokeswoman, Farida Mustafa. “Later after the prayer, police officers alongside thugs attacked the protesters with live bullets, rubber bullets and tear gas,” she said.

The Muslim Brotherhood said “thugs” also attacked a march in Cairo, inflicting several injuries.

The chief of Egypt’s armed forces, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, called on Egyptians to take to the streets on Friday to grant the military the “authorization” to face “violence and terrorism.” State and independent media signaled their support for the general’s call; several newspaper front pages urged Egyptians to take to the streets.

Some rights groups and members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has been protesting the popular coup against the country’s first democratically elected leader, interpreted the general’s words as a warning of an imminent crackdown.

Security forces have already rounded up hundreds of Brotherhood members in the past three weeks, including a number of the group’s top officials.

On Friday, MENA reported that Morsi was under investigation for collaborating with Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip, when he and about 30 colleagues in the Muslim Brotherhood escaped from prison.

Armored vehicles and troops on Friday guarded the entrances to Cairo’s Tahrir Square and deployed outside the presidential palace, where thousands of pro-military demonstrators began to rally. Many of them hoisted Sissi’s picture aloft. Military helicopters flew low over the square as their pilots waved, eliciting cheers from the crowd.

“Morsi should be in prison for life, and he should be charged with grand treason — not just reporting to Hamas and escaping from prison,” said Amer Hegab, a salesman, who had joined the crowd in Tahrir.

Khaled Turky, an unemployed laborer, said he expected the pro-military numbers to send the message that the entire nation supports state efforts to crack down on the Islamist group that ran Egypt for just over a year after winning the country’s first democratic elections.

“We want [the military] to take legal steps to get rid of the terrorist leaders and their plans,” said Turky.

Across town, thousands of Morsi’s supporters marched toward the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in eastern Cairo, where the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists have held a sit-in since June 30, when millions of other Egyptians took to the streets to call for Morsi’s ouster.

Alaa Abdul-Aziz, who served as Morsi’s culture minister until he was deposed along with other Islamist and Brotherhood cabinet members on the day of the coup, accused the military Friday of employing intimidation tactics to silent the protests against Morsi’s dismissal.

“The charges are nothing more than an attempt by the coup leaders to discourage the public from supporting the president’s legitimacy,” Abdul-Aziz said, as the crowd of Morsi supporters outside Rabaa al-Adawiya chanted for his reinstatement. The notion that Egypt’s elected president was “working as a spy for Hamas” was a “silly accusation,” he said.

“These are old tactics. They remind me of the ’50s and ’60s,” he added, referring to the military rule of Gamal Abdel Nasser, under which the Muslim Brotherhood was brutally repressed.

Protesters handed out petitions headlined by the word “Reject” and modeled after a campaign by the anti-Morsi Tamarod — or “rebel” movement — that preceded Morsi’s ouster. The petitions offered Morsi’s supporters the chance to declare their rejection of the military’s coup, of “any unelected president” and of the country’s “return to the age of oppression and humiliation.”

The Muslim Brotherhood said Friday afternoon that at least two protest marches in Cairo and Alexandria came under attack by “thugs” in civilian clothes, wielding knives and firing bird shot.

Egypt politician hails army statement

Leading Egyptian opposition figure Amr Moussa has welcomed a statement by the country’s army which gave politicians 48 hours to resolve the ongoing political crisis in Egypt.

“Wasting more time will make things worse. The invitation to meet the demands of the people within the next few hours is a historical opportunity which should not be lost,” Moussa said in a Monday statement.

Earlier in the day, the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in a statement that “if the demands of the people are not realized within the defined period, it will be incumbent upon (the armed forces) … to announce a road map for the future.”

The military’s statement further said the Egyptian people have expressed their will with “unprecedented” clarity in their nationwide protests, adding, “Wasting more time will lead only to more division … which we have warned and continue to warn against.”

In reaction to the military’s statement, Mahmud Ghozlan who is a senior leader of Muslim Brotherhood said that it is “studying” the statement, adding that their political bureau will meet to “decide on its position.”
On Sunday, anti-government protesters flooded the streets across Egypt, calling for the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi.

On Monday, the Egyptian Health Ministry said 16 people had lost their lives the day before, including eight people who were killed in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi outside the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in the capital, Cairo.

On Monday morning, the protesters attacked the headquarters in the eastern Moqattam District and looted it. The six-story building was also set on fire.

Meanwhile, reports say that Egyptian security forces have arrested 15 bodyguards of top Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat El-Shater on Monday.

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