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Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have called for a nationwide Day of Rage today after Wednesday’s security crackdown left at least 638 people dead and 3,000 people injured. The violence on Wednesday began when security forces raided two protest camps in Cairo set up to denounce the military overthrow of Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi. Today’s protest marches began after Friday prayers at 28 mosques in Cairo. We go to Cairo to speak to Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to Egypt, where members of the Muslim Brotherhood have called for a nationwide “Day of Rage” today to protest Wednesday’s security crackdown that left at least 638 people dead and more than 3,000 people injured. The violence on Wednesday began when security forces raided two protest camps in Cairo set up to denounce the military overthrow of Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi.
AMY GOODMAN: Today’s protest marches are expected to begin after Friday prayers at 28 mosques in Cairo. Security forces are already in the streets blocking key parts of the city, including Tahrir Square.
We go now to Cairo to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.
Sharif, tell us what’s happening today.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, it’s a very tense day, Amy. There’s calls for marches to go out from 28 mosques across the capital by pro-Morsi groups, and there’s been a stepped-up deployment by the military across the capital with army tanks and APCs and soldiers blocking main thoroughfares, completely encircling Tahrir, not allowing anyone in. There are already reports coming out of people who have been killed, in Ismailia and Tanta, one at Canal City, another one a city in the Nile Delta. There’s been clashes in Alexandria and Suez. If those reports are confirmed, that does not bode well for the rest of the day, as these marches just began.
There’s a very large gathering that’s happening in Ramses Square, which is in central downtown Cairo, and police are being deployed, as well. The interior minister yesterday authorized police and security officials to use live ammunition against any assault on state institutions or on the police. And this came in the wake of Morsi supporters attacking a local government building in Giza, part of greater Cairo, setting it ablaze and burning it down, as well as attacks on churches around the country. So it’s a very tense situation.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Sharif, this represents the worst political bloodshed, what happened this week, in the modern history of Egypt. Do you get any sense among the supporters of Morsi that more may then say that elections and democracy don’t work, that they’ve got to turn to civil war and violence against the government?
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