Egypt Tense Amid Calls for Fresh Protests - Live Blogs & Updates - ABCNews

Egypt Tense Amid Calls for Fresh Protests

Tensions remain high across Egypt as the government accuses supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi of “terrorism,” and Islamists vow to continue protesting all week. Hundreds were killed last week after security forces cleared two sit-ins Wednesday, and clashes have continued since. Updates from @MollyMHunter, @BGittleson, @Adamakary, @MuhammadLila, @NasserAtta5 and @MattMcGarry. Follow live as the action unfolds.

  • Around 7am in Cairo, state security forces moved in to clear the two main sit-ins filled with supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi.

    In the capital's Nasr City, tens of thousands of Morsi supporters have been camped out in Raba'a Al Adewaya for more than a month, and in Giza a smaller sit-in has developed in Al Nahda Square. 

    Since Morsi's ouster on July 3, at least 250 people have died in clashes around the country but with no viable political alternative, the Muslim Brotherhood has vowed to stay put until Morsi is reinstated.

    In Raba'a alone, the Brotherhood estimates at least 50,000 people sleep in the tent city nightly, and as many as 500,000 join the evening rallies. It’s very hard to see how a population of that size could be cleared without serious bloodshed.

    In recent weeks, the country's interim government has repeatedly threatened to disperse the sit-ins and it appears they have finally decided to do so. 
  • ABC's Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) on the ground in Cairo, reports smoke can be seen at both sit-in locations:

  • Egypt's interior ministry has released a statement announcing the dispersal operation. Below summary from our partners at the BBC:

    The interior ministry issued a statement saying security forces were taking "necessary measures" against the protest at the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in the east of Cairo and the protest in Nahda Square in the east.

    The statement said a safe exit would be provided for protesters and they would not be pursued, "except those who are wanted by the prosecution."

    The interior ministry is keen "not to shed any Egyptian blood," the statement went on.

  • Watching a live stream from Raba'a Al Adewaya, military helicopters can be heard overhead. The Associated Press reports an army bulldozer is currently removing the mounds of sand bags and brick walls built as barriers by the protesters to protect the Nasr City camp.
  • Egypt's health ministry tells ABC News that at least five civilians have died and tens injured in Raba'a this morning. Egypt's interior ministry reports two members of the security forces have been killed.

  • The Reuters reporter on the scene in Raba'a, Tom Finn (@tomfinn2), and the Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad El Haddad (@gelhaddad) report that ambulances are being blocked from entering the area:

  • Smoke rises from Rabaa al-Adwiya square in Cairo as security forces clear supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi from protest camps. Credit: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

  • A dramatic snapshot from Egyptian photographer Mosa'ab Elshamy

  • Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, put out a statement this morning urging "restraint." (Feels a little late for that.)

     The reports of deaths and injuries are extremely worrying. We reiterate that violence won't lead to any solution and we urge the Egyptian authorities to proceed with utmost restraint.

  • Casualty Update: Today's official death toll continues to tick upwards, reports ABC's freelance producer Adam Makary (@adamakary):

  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans against Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during clashes with Egyptian security forces in Cairo's Mohandessin neighborhood, Egypt. Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. (AP)

  • After the EU's brief statement this morning, world leaders are waking up and beginning to chime in on the deteriorating situation in Egypt. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague joined EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton calling for restraint: 

    "I am deeply concerned at the escalating violence and unrest in Egypt, and regret the loss of life on all sides. 

    The UK has been closely involved in intensive diplomatic efforts directed at reaching a peaceful resolution to the standoff. 

    I am disappointed that compromise has not been possible. I condemn the use of force in clearing protests and call on the security forces to act with restraint.

    Leaders on all sides must work to reduce the risk of further violence. Only then will it be possible to take vital steps towards dialogue and reconciliation."

    In Turkey, President Abdullah Gul told reporters in Ankara that Egypt's "armed intervention on civilians, on people demonstrating ... is completely unacceptable."

    From Qatar's foreign ministry, a country that recently pledged $18 billion in investments to Egypt over the next five years:  "Qatar strongly denounces the means by which peaceful protesters in Rabaa al-Adawiya camp and Al-Nahda square have been dealt with and which led to the  killing of several unarmed innocent people among them."

    Iran's foreign ministry warned of civil war: "While denouncing the violent clashes and condemning the killing of people, [Iran's foreign ministry] expresses its deep concern regarding the horrible consequences ... Undoubtedly the current approach to developments in Egypt strengthens the likelihood of civil war in this great Islamic country."

  • Casualty Update: AFP's journalist in Raba'a literally counting bodies by hand. 

    The health ministry's latest count includes 56 people killed and 526 injured nationwide while the Brotherhood maintains hundreds have been killed. Again, ABC News is unable to independently verify these figures. 
  • On cue, just one hour after Egypt's "state of emergency" was announced, a nationwide curfew has been put in place from 7pm-6am. 
  • According to a Cabinet statement, the dawn to dusk curfew will be imposed in the following provinces indefinitely: Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Beni Suef, Minya, Asuit, Sohag, Behiera, North Sinai, South Sinai, Suez, Ismailia.

  • Earlier today, a member of Egypt's security forces kicks a pro-Morsi supporter in Al Nahda Square, in Giza, Egypt. Wednesday Aug. 14, 2013. (AP)

  • ABC's Nasser Atta (@nasseratta5) and ABC's freelance producer Adam Makary (@adamakary) report:

    Vice President Mohamed El Baradei has submitted his resignation to interim president Adly Mansour following today's bloodshed. The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel Prize winner, Baradei said in his resignation letter that the political standoff could have been resolved peacefully. It's not clear whether the interim president will accept his resignation. 

    Full statement in English:

    I believe that the security, stability and progress of this country can only be achieved through national consensus and social harmony. This is achieved by having a civil state, not a religious one, and one that is inspired by the principles and higher values ​​that speaks for all walks of life.

    Yet recently, those groups that have used religion as their shield and succeeded to attracting the public with their distorted view of religion, came to power and stayed there for a year. It was one of the worst years that Egypt ever went through.

    It was our hope to lead an uprising of the people on June 30, to put an end to the current situation and place the country on a natural course to achieve the principles of the revolution. This is what I was called on to do, but things went in a direction of abuse and people became more polarized, so much that it has become our social fabric, one that threatens more disruption, and violence begets only more violence.

    As you know, I saw other alternatives to resolve the crisis peacefully, and there were ideas on the table for a national consensus, but things didn't go that way. And that has been the reality of similar experiences. Reconciliation will come in the end, but after we have suffered dearly, which in my opinion, I thought was possible to avoid.

    It has become difficult for me to continue to carry my responsibility due to decisions I do not agree with. I am afraid I can not afford to bear the responsibility of a single drop of blood before God, and before my conscience and the citizens of Egypt. Unfortunately, the beneficiaries of today's events are the advocates of violence and terrorism.
  • Just back from Nahda. Gunshots still ringing out there, thick tear gas in the air. Police say "thugs/protesters" hiding in parks.
  • Watching throngs of Morsi supporters file out of Raba'a right now on Egypt state TV in an orderly line. Surreal images after today's bloodshed.
  • According to a statement issued by the Maspero Youth Movement, 18 churches were attacked today across Egypt, a very worrying sign for the country's Coptic Christians. The Coptic church officially backed Morsi's ouster and Patriarch Tawadros II flanked Egypt's army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi as he spoke the night of July 3. 

  • Casualty Update: The health ministry tallies 149 dead and 1,403 injured across Egypt, but has not provided a specific breakdown. 
  • A curfew has just gone into effect across a dozen provinces in Egypt, including Cairo. The curfew will last from 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. EDT) until 6 a.m. local time (12 a.m. EDT). Starting tomorrow, it will begin at 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. EDT) and last for 11 hours. The curfew will stay in place every night during the provinces' month-long state of emergency.

  • Speaking now at a press conference, Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim says 149 people were killed in clashes, including 43 policemen.

    He said 21 police stations had been attacked, seven churches had been burned and 14 security vans had been taken over by protesters.

    Watch Ibrahim's comments live, at the top of this page.
  • WATCH: Latest update on 'World News with Diane Sawyer' 

    Watch "World News with Diane Sawyer" now for a report from ABC's Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila), on the ground in Cairo.

    "World News" airs at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

    Meanwhile, the AP reports that today was the bloodiest day in Egypt since an uprising ousted former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

    by Ben Gittleson edited by Molly Hunter 8/14/2013 10:29:50 PM
  • Egyptian interim prime minister: 'Today was a difficult day'

    Egypt's interim prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, addressed the nation Wednesday evening. The AP reports:

    "Today was a difficult day," interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said in a televised address to the nation. While he regretted the bloodshed, he offered no apologies for moving against the supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, saying they were given ample warnings to leave and he had tried foreign mediation efforts.
    by Ben Gittleson edited by Molly Hunter 8/15/2013 12:56:06 AM
  • Speaking from Martha's Vineyard, President Obama made a brief statement on Egypt. Thursday Aug. 15, 2013. (Pool Photo)

  • Casualty Update: The Egyptian health ministry updates yesterday's total count to 700 people killed and 3,000 injured nationwide. 
  • The Human Rights Watch team in Egypt is investigating the varying death tolls. HRW Egypt Director, Heba Morayef filed this video from just outside Raba'a:

  • ABC's freelance producer Adam Makary (@adamakary) reports: 

    Egypt's interim government has eased the month-long curfew imposed in a dozen provinces. The curfew will now start at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. EDT) instead of 7 p.m. The cabinet statement said the curfew will continue until 6am local time (12 a.m. EDT). 

  • Raising the prospect of further bloodshed, Egypt state TV has released a statement from the Tamarod ("Rebel") youth group calling on its supporters to form civilian vigilante groups tomorrow. Responding to the Brotherhood's call for nationwide marches after Friday prayers, the statement said "those afraid cannot make freedom." 

  • That was fast. The interim government has announced they will stick with the original curfew plans: 7 p.m. (1 p.m. EDT) to 6 a.m. (12 a.m. EDT). So, if you're out on the street, get off the street because it's already 7:45 p.m. in Cairo.
  • Funerals across Egypt

    Both Morsi supporters and members of Egypt's security forces have been laying to rest those who were killed in yesterday's clashes.

    Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Egypt's deposed president, Mohammed Morsi, carry the coffin of a fellow member at El Eyman mosque in Cairo, Aug. 15, 2013. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)
    by Ben Gittleson on Aug 15, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim, center, and top officers of the army and police, march during a military funeral of policemen killed during Wednesday's clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 15, 2013. (Amr Nabil/AP)
    by Ben Gittleson on Aug 15, 2013 at 6:38 PM

  • Pentagon, State Deptartment call military excercise's cancellation prudent

    ABC’s Dana Hughes (@dana_hughes) reports:

    The State Department and Pentagon said today that the decision to cancel a joint military exercise with Egypt, Bright Star, was prudent in light of recent events.

    "We didn't feel, given the events of the last 36 hours, that this was an appropriate exercise that should continue,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

    Psaki admitted, though, that cancelling the exercise alone may not make that much of a difference.

    "I don't think anyone in the government thinks that certainly the cancellation of Bright Star is going to change actions on the ground,"  she said. "However, just given the events of the last 36 hours, this did impact our decision-making about aid, and we'll continue to review."

    Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today that the decision to cancel the exercise was made late yesterday. He said that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the country's top military commander, spoke at length about the events in Cairo today.

    "Canceling this exercise was a prudent step, we believe, to signal the United States' strong objection to recent events, including violence against civilians," Little said.

    Little said cancelling the exercise was the “right decision at this time” but said that the United States does want to continue having a relationship with Egypt.

    “We’re watching to see what happens next in this country closely," Little said.
    by Ben Gittleson edited by Molly Hunter 8/15/2013 7:10:18 PM
  • State Department to Americans: Defer travel to Egypt, leave if already in country

    ABC News’ Dana Hughes (@dana_hughes) reports:

    The State Department has updated its travel warning for Egypt, urging all U.
    S. citizens to defer travel to Egypt and Americans living in Egypt to leave because of the continuing political and social unrest.

    The warning reiterates that all non-emergency embassy staff and their families were ordered out of Egypt on July 3, but also states that the U.S. embassy in Cairo is still open to the public at this time.

    “Unless otherwise indicated in a public announcement, the U.S. Embassy is open for all routine American Citizens Services by appointment," the warning reads.
  • Egypt crisis begins to impact global economy

    ABC’s Zunaira Zaki (@zunairazaki) reports:

    General Motors and Shell Oil have shut down their offices in Egypt.

    General Motors told ABC News in a statement that the company closed its Cairo office and halted production operations at its plant in 6th of October City, a Cairo suburb:

    The safety and security of our employees is of paramount importance to us. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

    In a statement, Shell said it was doing the same:

    To ensure the safety and security of its staff, Shell offices in Egypt are closed for business on Thursday and into the weekend, while business travel into the country has been restricted.

    But the clashes in Egypt haven’t had much of an impact on gas prices.

    The price of a barrel of oil was up 48 cents in New York trading today, settling at $107.33 a barrel. While higher oil prices generally mean higher gas prices, Gasbuddy analyst Tom Kloza says the violence in Egypt would have to get much worse before we see a significant impact on prices at the pump.

    As long as there is no impact on the Suez Canal or any other major oil installations, Egypt’s impact on oil and gas prices is expected to be limited.
    by Ben Gittleson edited by Molly Hunter 8/15/2013 7:28:58 PM
  • AP: U.N. Security Council to meet on Egypt

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council has scheduled an emergency briefing on the latest developments in Egypt following the government's deadly crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

    Britain, France and Australia requested the council meeting and the U.N. spokesman's office said Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson will brief the council behind closed doors at 5:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday.

    U.N. diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private, said they do not expect the council to issue a statement or adopt a resolution on Thursday.
  • Pope prays for Egypt

    Speaking at the Vatican today, Pope Francis offered his prayers for Egyptians.

    "Unfortunately, painful news has come from Egypt," Pope Francis said. "I wish to ensure my prayers for all the victims and their families, the injured and all those who are suffering. Let us pray together for peace, dialogue and reconciliation in that dear nation and throughout the world.

    by vatican on 12:05 PM

  • Egyptian protesters turn fury on Coptic Christians

    The Islamic supporters of Egypt’s ousted president who have been battling the military have turned their rage on members of the country’s Coptic Christian minority, attacking churches, monasteries, schools, Christian owned shops as well as individuals.

    Churches across the country sustained attacks for a second straight day today, according to rights groups, state media and Egyptian security forces. Individual Copts say they fear reprisal attacks, with one video purportedly showing supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi beating a Coptic taxi driver to death in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city.

    For more, read my full article.
  • UN calls for 'maximum restraint' in Egypt

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council is calling on both the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise "maximum restraint" and end the violence spreading across the country.

    Council members called for national reconciliation, expressed regret at the loss of life and sent sympathy to the victims.

    Argentina's U.N. Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, the current council president, expressed the views of council members following an emergency briefing by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on Egypt's violence.

    The U.N. Security Council had scheduled an emergency briefing Thursday on the latest developments in Egypt following the government's deadly crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
  • The BBC's Jeremy Bowen (@BowenBBC) reports from Cairo:

  • Freelance journalist Jared Malsin (@Jmalsin) is heading towards Cairo's Ramses Square. Crowds appear to be growing: 

  • The BBC's Jeremy Bowen (@BowenBBC) confirms live fire:

  • Egyptian health ministry: 7 killed so far

  • Muslim Brotherhood: 45 dead

    The Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, reports at least 45 people were killed and more than 250 wounded in today's clashes near Ramses Square. That total does not include casualties from outside the capital. At this time, ABC News is unable to independently verify the varying figures.
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