State of Emergency Declared as Chaos Erupts in Egypt
Cairo has come under curfew—and many parts of Egypt under a month-long state of emergency–after protests Wednesday turned violent, leaving as many as 150 people dead, according to media reports.
Egyptian security forces had moved early in the day to clear a sit-in of supporters of recently ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo. The security intervention prompted nationwide clashes.
Amid the violence, Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour said in a statement that a state of emergency would begin at 4 p.m. and ordered the armed forces to help the Interior Ministry enforce security.
The exceptional measures came as “the security and order of the nation face danger due to deliberate sabotage, and attacks on public and private buildings and the loss of life by extremist groups,” Reuters quoted Mansour as saying.
According to Ahram Online, the state of emergency has been imposed on 12 out of 27 governorates – Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Suez, Ismailia, Assiut, Sohag, Beni Suef, Minya, Beheira, South Sinai, and North Sinai. It will last for a month, and those who do not abide by the curfew will be imprisoned, according to the government’s statement. Cairo will also be under a curfew tonight and into tomorrow.
Mohamed ElBaradei, vice president for foreign affairs, offered his resignation in protest of the crackdown, Ahram Online reported. Before the day’s brutal proceedings ElBaradei had butted heads with the chief of Egypt’s military, Gen. Abdel Fattah al Sisi, over the conflict with Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Meanwhile, among those dead was the daughter of Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltagy. Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Gehad al-Haddad tweeted Wednesday that she was killed during the clearing of the square outside Raba’a mosque, in Nasr City, Cairo.
The international community was quick to condemn the violence and urged calm in the embattled country.
“The reports of deaths and injuries are extremely worrying,” Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said. “We reiterate that violence won’t lead to any solution and we urge the Egyptian authorities to proceed with utmost restraint.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the UN Security Council and the Arab League to intervene.
“The international community, especially the UN Security Council and Arab League, must act immediately to stop this massacre,” Erdogan’s office said in a statement.
“We strongly condemn Wednesday’s police assault on Egyptian people. It is a grave crime that the police fired on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators. Deaths since June 30 are the responsibility of the interim government which seized the democratic and civil administration through a military coup,” the press office of the Turkish prime minister said.
The White House also condemned Wednesday’s violence and said it opposed the state of emergency.