Egypt in monthlong state of emergency
AFPCAIRO/NEW YORK/LONDON -- Egypt declared a monthlong state of emergency Wednesday as violence raged across the country following a crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
August 15, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
The nationwide state of emergency, announced by a presidency statement read out on state television, began at 4:00 p.m. (1400 GMT).
The exceptional measures came as “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.
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.”
Curfew in 12 Provinces
Egypt's government Wednesday declared a daily curfew in Cairo and 11 other provinces. The curfew was to begin at 7:00 p.m. (1700 GMT), before sunset, and run until 6:00 a.m. (0400 GMT), a government spokesman said in a statement read out on state television.
It applies to the provinces of Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Beni Sueif, Menya, Assiut, Sohag, Beheira, North Sinai, South Sinai and Suez. The government later added that Ismailiya would also be under curfew.
Security forces Wednesday stormed two huge Cairo protest camps occupied for weeks, leaving at least 124 people dead.
As clashes raged in the capital, three churches were attacked in central Egypt, with Christian activists accusing Morsi loyalists of waging “a war of retaliation against Copts in Egypt.”
Hours after the first tear gas canisters rained down on tents of protesters in the sprawling Rabaa al-Adawiya camp in east Cairo, an AFP correspondent counted at least 124 bodies in makeshift morgues.
2,200 Killed: Brotherhood
In a field hospital, its floors slippery with blood, doctors struggled to cope with the casualties, leaving the hopeless cases, even if still alive.
The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi emerged, said that 2,200 people had been killed and over 10,000 injured as authorities confirmed 56 deaths in Wednesday's violence.
Security officials had spoken of a gradual dispersal of the sit-ins over several days. The dramatic descent on the squares shortly after dawn came as a surprise to many.
Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's main seat of learning, which sided with the military in its overthrow of Morsi on July 3, distanced itself from the crackdown.
“Al-Azhar stresses to all Egyptians that it did not know about the methods used for the dispersal of the protests except through media channels,” Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb said in a televised statement.