CAIRO — A night of largely peaceful protests in Cairo ended early Monday in a bloody clash between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and Egyptian soldiers, according to Muslim Brotherhood officials and Egyptian media.
Muslim Brotherhood officials, who are supporting ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, said security forces raided their encampment outside the Republican Guard compound with tear gas and gunfire about 4 a.m. Supporters of Morsi have been camped there for days demanding the release of the ousted leader, who has been under arrest since a military coup last week.
The Muslim Brotherhood said 34 people had been killed and 500 wounded; those figures could not be confirmed. The Associated Press quoted an army official as saying that five had been killed by gunmen.
Egyptian television showed chaotic scenes of bloodied, unconscious protesters lying in makeshift triage facilities. They also showed images of more than a dozen bodies lying under sheets and Egyptian flags.
The Brotherhood called upon their supporters to donate blood and rush to the Nasr district of Cairo to assist the victims.
“Bloodbath!” tweeted Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad Haddad.
In an interview with Al Jazeera television, Haddad said Egypt had returned to a “full-fledged police state in just five days” and warned that the attack might provoke more violence.
“This kind of incitement and violence is pushing people to the brink and I don’t think the people can take it anymore,’’ he said. “We are still the critical mass in Egypt.”
[Updated, 10:50 p.m. July 7: This post has been updated with death toll estimates.]