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article imageEgypt imposes national emergency after bloodbath in Cairo

By Abdul Kuddus     Aug 14, 2013 in World
Cairo - After a heavy-handed operation against pro-Morsi supporters that killed hundreds of people, Egypt has declared a month-long state of emergency, according to reports.
The state of emergency is expected to last for a month in Cairo and several other provinces. Further, several Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been arrested.
Morsi supporters and Muslim Brotherhood members had occupied two camps in Cairo demanding his reinstatement as Egypt’s legitimate president following his eviction and house arrest by Egyptian military in early July.
After weeks of attempts to accommodate the Islamists, Egypt’s interim government ran out of patience with the Muslim Brotherhood supporters and used brute police force to remove the mounds of sand, brick walls and barricades.
BBC quoted the Egyptian health ministry saying 149 people were killed, however the Muslim Brotherhood claims more than 2,000 died.
The health ministry issued an official death toll of 95, but the exact estimate of death toll in the two Cairo operations is still not clear.
Reportedly, armored bulldozers forced into the main protest camp outside Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque shortly after dawn on Wednesday morning.
Another protest camp, at Nahda Square, has also been cleared and the army has taken control of the surrounding streets.
Television footage showed wounded protesters being treated next to the dead in makeshift field hospitals.
Defending the decision to disperse the protesters forcefully, the presidency said in a statement:
“The measure was taken because 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 interior ministry denied the deaths were caused by its forces firing live ammunition.
Following the violence and rising death toll, Vice-President Mohammed El Baradei announced his resignation from the interim government.
He said in a statement:
"I cannot continue in shouldering the responsibility for decisions I do not agree with and I fear their consequences. I cannot shoulder the responsibility for a single drop of blood."
Reportedly the military crackdown on Morsi supporters has triggered unrest elsewhere in Egypt. Clashes have also been reported in the northern provinces of Alexandria and Beheira, and the central provinces of Assiut and Menya, according to the BBC.
The news of violence and death toll in Egypt triggered widespread international criticism as countries urged for restraint.
“The United Nations, the United States, Britain, Iran, Qatar and Turkey strongly denounced the use of force by the military-backed interim government to clear two protest camps in Cairo,” AFP reported.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed regret on the use of force by Egyptian authorities according to a statement issued by his spokesman.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's spokesman condemned the measure saying: "Confrontation and violence are not the way forward."
More about Egypt imposes national emergency, Egypt Cracks Down on ProMorsi Camps, ElBaradei resigns, clashes across Egypt, political unrest
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