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Violence Continues, Leaving Dozens Dead | International Reactions Negative

Competing demonstrations continued overnight as violence escalated. According to the Ministry of Health, Saturday saw at least 74 people killed and around 750 injured. 65 were killed in Cairo, mostly near the primary pro-Morsi demonstration at Raba’a al-Adaweya. A further nine deaths from yesterday were officially reported in Alexandria, though other sources from yesterday indicated ten dead. Later in the day, the MENA news agency reported a total of 75 dead and over 1,000 injured. The pro-Morsi group Anti-Coup Alliance claimed that over 100 had been killed and 5,000 wounded, while Al-Jazeera reported that 120 had been killed and around 4,500 wounded. Outside of the capital, early reports stated that “dozens” of Morsi supporters were injured in Fayoum.

In response to the unrest, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim made comments suggesting that the government would be recreating the Mubarak-era secret state security units that had been disbanded in 2011. The Tamarod campaign quickly responded, with its spokesman noting that, although Tamarod supports the “fight against terrorism,” the campaign would “never accept the return of Mubarak’s state security [apparatus] or the chasing of political activists under any name.”

Human Rights Watch wrote that “many of the at least 74 pro-Morsi protestors killed” in Cairo had been shot in the head or chest, possibly supporting claims of the Muslim Brotherhood that the government had used snipers on civilians. The Interior Minister was later quoted as claiming that “[police never] pointed any firearms at the chest of any demonstrator.”

International reactions to the violence came in from the United States, which urged Egyptian leaders to “take a step back from the brink” and to show restraint, the United Kingdom, which called for “all sides to refrain from violence,” and the European Union, which asked “all actors to refrain from violence and to respect the principles of peaceful protest and non-violence.” The United States and the United Kingdom also more directly urged political reconciliation and the release or official charging of previously detained political leaders under investigation for crime. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, issued a statement strongly condemning the violence and called on Egypt’s government to “assume full responsibility for the peaceful management of the demonstrations.” He also noted that demonstrators must themselves refrain from violence.