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Egypt’s prosecution blames Nasr City violence on Morsi supporters

Prosecution says supporters of deposed president are armed, accuse them of killing and damaging property

Ahram Online, Monday 29 Jul 2013
Clashes
Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi carry an injured man to a field hospital following clashes with security forces at Nasr City, where pro-Morsi protesters have held a weeks-long sit-in, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, July 27, 2013 (Photo: AP)
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Egyptian prosecutors said Monday investigations initially indicate that supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi damaged public and private properties in Cairo’s Nasr City district during clashes with police forces in the early hours of Saturday.

Ahmed El-Rakeib, media coordinator of Egypt’s prosecutor general Hisham Barakat, confirmed allegations by eyewitnesses that the deadly confrontations between Morsi’s supporters and security forces (assisted by residents) erupted after the former camp sought to block the Sixth of October Bridge.

El-Rakeib also said there were casualties among the police and residents during the street battle.

Doctors at the field hospital of the massive pro-Morsi sit-in in Nasr City said at least 200 protesters were killed and 4500 injured from, most of whom they say were fatally shot.

The Ministry of Health said at least 80 had been killed in Nasr City's violence in the early hours of Saturday.

The prosecution has already asked the forensic specialists to determine the cause of deaths.

On how violence erupted on Saturday, El-Rakeib confirmed eyewitness accounts that Morsi’s supporters sought to rally on top of the Sixth of October Bridge, which prompted security forces to take action.

He said that Morsi’s supporters blocked Nasr Street, which leads to the bridge, using pavement bricks, and sought to torch the Egypt Expo & Convention Authority (EECA).

El-Rakeib also revealed that police have arrested 74 suspected in the violence, having also seized a number of firearms, ammunition and bladed weapons in the area.

For weeks, thousands of pro-Morsi protesters have been staging a sit-in near Rabaa Al-Adawyia Mosque and another at Giza's Al-Nahda Square in front of Cairo University. They have also been organising marches across Egypt to demand the reinstatement of Morsi as president.

In Nasr City, protesters are usually situated near Rabaa Al-Adawyia Mosque. However, their numbers increased on Friday, with crowds reaching the Unknown Soldier Memorial (one kilometre away) and the EECA near the Sixth of October Bridge.

The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, carried out massive demonstrations on Friday to counterbalance nationwide protests called for by army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who said he wanted to be granted a popular "mandate to deal with violence and potential terrorism."

Responding to his call, millions hit the streets across the country on Friday to voice support for El-Sisi and Egypt's army, and to express anger against Morsi and the Brotherhood.

After one year in office, Morsi was ousted on 3 July after mass nationwide protests against the former elected president.

Morsi has been held incommunicado ever since.

Morsi's supporters and opponents have frequently faced off since his overthrow, leading to at least 200 dead and hundreds injured in the past few weeks. Both camps have used firearms against one other, among other weapons, on numerous occasions.

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