Death toll in Egypt hits 638; Morsi supporters vow to keep protesting
CAIRO – The death toll from the violence engulfing Egypt rose Thursday to more than 600, as supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi vowed to continue their protests despite a crackdown by the military-backed government.
At least 638 people were killed and 3,994 injured in clashes ignited Wednesday when security forces broke up two sit-ins by protesters loyal to Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, according to a Health Ministry official quoted by Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper. The dead, mostly Morsi supporters, include at least 43 police officers.
The bloodshed stunned world leaders. President Obama on Thursday canceled a joint military exercise with Egypt and said he was ordering a review of other steps the United States might take.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that the U.N. Security Council move to condemn what he characterized as a massacre by Egyptian soldiers and security forces.
“I am calling on Western countries. You remained silent in Gaza, you remained silent in Syria. ... You are still silent on Egypt. So how come you talk about democracy, freedom, global values and human rights?” he told a news conference.
The unrest continued Thursday. Four people were killed in clashes in Alexandria. Islamist protesters allegedly threw Molotov cocktails and set fire to the municipal building in Giza, outside Cairo. About the same time, flag-draped coffins of police officers killed in Wednesday’s clashes were driven slowly through the capital.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which claimed more than 2,000 people had died nationwide after police stormed two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo, vowed to continue protesting until the former president is reinstated.
“We will always be nonviolent and peaceful. We remain strong, defiant and resolved,” Brotherhood spokesman Gehad Haddad posted on his Twitter account. “We will push forward until we bring down this military coup.”
Special correspondent Ingy Hassieb contributed to this report.
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