5 Jul 2013

Pro-Morsi demonstrators killed in Egypt

At least three people are shot dead during a demonstration outside a barracks in Cairo where ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi is being held.

The shootings happened as pro-Morsi supporters made their way to the Republican Guard barracks in the capital, in what Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement had dubbed a “Friday of rage”.

Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, was ousted in a military coup on Wednesday, and on Friday the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, told a protest rally in Cairo he should be reinstated.

Speaking to tens of thousands of Islamists, Badie vowed to “complete the revolution”, repeatedly referring to Morsi as Egypt’s president.

A spokesman for Egypt’s military denied the army fired on pro-Morsi protesters. The spokesman said soldiers had only been using blank rounds and teargas. It was unclear whether security forces other than the army were present.

Shotgun pellets

Several Islamist supporters of Morsi were also reported to have been wounded near the military barracks. A witness said he saw several people fall to the ground, wounded by shotgun pellets.

Thousands of Islamists took to the streets of Alexandria and Assuit in opposition to the formation of a new interim government.

In Damanhour, 21 people were wounded, three with live bullets, while in Ismailia, soldiers fired into the air when Islamists tried to break into the governor’s office

The state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported that “a state of emergency” had been declared in response to an overnight attack by Islamist gunmen on an airport in the north Sinai town of Al-Arish.

But the army denied the reports, saying it remained “on alert”.

Brent crude spike

In the Sinai peninsula near Israel, gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades at army checkpoints guarding an airport and rocketed a police station near the border with the Palestinian territories.

One soldier was killed and two wounded, a security source said.

It was not immediately clear whether the violence in Sinai was directly linked to Morsi’s overthrow.

Reports of the state of emergency in Suez and south Sinai caused the price of Brent crude to spike by more than $1.50, a reminder of Egypt’s global strategic importance. The price subsided after reports that shipping on the canal was unaffected.

Al-Qaeda flags

Footage has also emerged from Sinai showing Islamist supporters waving the al-Qaeda flag.

A minute and a half into the video below a protester is seen clearly holding the flag above the crowds.

Al-Qaeda flags have also reportedly been spotted across Egypt.

Meanwhile, Washington has voiced concern about human rights and stability.

But the US is not lamenting what has happened to the Brotherhood, an organisation that has long represented many Arabs’ hopes for a better society but was found wanting during Morsi’s year in power.

While avoiding the word “coup”, the White House said some on President Obama’s national security team had contacted Egyptian officials “to convey the importance of a quick and responsible return of full authority to a democratically elected civilian government”.

African Union suspends Egypt

The African Union (AU) on Friday suspended Egypt from all its activities after the Egyptian military overthrew the elected president.

Suspension is the AU’s usual response to any interruption of constitutional rule by a member state.

“As mandated by the relevant AU instruments, the African Union peace and security council decides to suspend the participation of Egypt in AU activities until the restoration of constitutional order,” Admore Kambudzi, secretary of the peace and security council, said after a meeting.