Cairo, Egypt – The death toll in Friday’s “March of Anger” called by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has shot to more than 60 as violence continued after the curfew hours in the capital, Cairo, in a standoff between the protesters and security forces.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s death toll is far higher. It has called for daily protests until the “coup” that ousted President Mohammed Morsi is reversed.
Thousands of people heeded the Muslim Brotherhood’s call to join the marches after Friday prayers across the country and deaths were recorded in violence in several cities.
Television stations showed protesters after curfew hours still at Ramses Square in Cairo, the main point the Muslim Brotherhood asked its supporters to converge after the Friday prayers, and the authorities are warning of “firm action” against them.
There are reports of anti-Morsi civilians also confronting the protesters.
Television footage showed the protest marches across the country, the dead and injured and the determination of the protesters to push on despite the bloodshed in the deeply divided country.
The marches were to protest the bloody crackdown against two sit-ins in the capital, Cairo, on Wednesday, which recorded a heavy loss of life.
In Cairo Friday, protesters from some 20 locations attempted to converge at the Ramses Square which the security forces sealed off.
A defiant and uncompromising Muslim Brotherhood, to which ousted President Mohammed Morsi belongs, wants him reinstated to reverse the coup staged by the military.
The country is under a state of emergency for one month while a night curfew is in force.
Apart from Cairo, violence, and in some instances deaths, have also been reported in Alexandria, the second largest city, Ismailia and other cities.
The UN Security Council, which held an emergency session on Thursday, has called for maximum restraint from the two sides – the government and Muslim Brotherhood.
The official death toll in Wednesday’s forced eviction of protesters from the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Nasr city in the east of Cairo and the Nahda Square has climbed further to 638.
More than 40 police officers and three journalists also died and about 4,000 people were injured.
The Muslim Brotherhood maintains that more than 2,000 people were “massacred” and has vowed to continue with its protests until Morsi is freed. He has not been seen in public since his overthrow on 3 July.
The military-backed government, in a swift and uncompromising reaction to the renewed violence, has said the security forces have been instructed “to use live ammunition in the face of any attacks on establishments”.
The bloodshed started on Wednesday when bulldozers moved in against the protesters at the two camps at Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque and the Nahda Square.
The military ousted Morsi after days of a sit-in at Tahrir Square in Cairo by tens of thousands of people who accused him of pursuing an agenda for the Muslim Brotherhood instead of pushing the country forward.