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  • » 08/16/2013, 00.00

    EGYPT - ISLAM

    In Cairo, a few thousand protesters heed call for a Day of Rage, as dozens die in clashes with soldiers



    Clashes pit soldiers against the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, Damietta and Ismailia. Demonstrators tried to storm police stations. The low turnout is a sign of division between the Islamists. The West does not understand that the Brotherhood is connected to al-Qaeda and Salafist terrorism. Today, no churches or Christian homes have been attacked as self-defence groups, including members of the anti-Morsi Tamarod movement, come out to protect them.

    Cairo (AsiaNews) - Thousands of Egyptian Islamists defied a state of emergency today and tried to reach Ramses Square, after a call for a "Day of Rage" was made. Protesters and police clashed, shots were fired from both sides. Dozens of protesters and police have died, at least ten in Cairo, eight in Damietta and four in Ismailia.

    Egyptian soldiers have received orders to shoot if government buildings come under attack. In fact, all the deaths occurred when protesters tried to storm police stations.

    A few thousand people took to the streets in protest in the capital; some 10,000 did the same in Alexandria; far fewer people are out compared to just a few days ago, observers noted, as divisions with the Muslim Brotherhood appear over the violence and how to proceed now on.

    Within the organisation, some groups would like to talk with the new government; others are opposed to the confrontation. Some are instead bent on continuing with protests and clashes until ousted President Mohamed Morsi is re-installed.

    Until the late in afternoon, there were no attacks against churches and Christian homes, as was the case in recent days.

    Elsewhere, the Tamarod, the movement that led to Morsi's fall, called on its members to take to the streets to defend government buildigns, churches and monasteries.

    Meaqnwhile, the international community seems confused. With Great Britain and Germany, France wants to discuss a common approach. On Thursday, the UN Security Council called on the parties to the conflict in Egypt to show restraint.

    US President Barack Obama slammed the violence by the military of the last few days. He also cancelled joint military US-Egyptian exercises; however, re has not for now cancelled US aid to the Egyptian military.

    "Obama does not seem to understand the situation," said Fr Rafic Greiche, a spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church.

    "In his speech, he did not mention the churches and Christian buildings the Muslim Brotherhood burnt. This must be said clearly. The Muslim Brotherhood are terrorists; they are linked to al Qaeda and Salafist groups. The Brotherhood's history, since its foundation, is 85 years of blood."

    "The Brotherhood," Fr Greiche noted, "engages in double talk. They talk to Western media about democracy and military coup; to Arabs they talk about their plans to build a state based on the Islamic religion, sharia, and a caliphate that incorporates other Arab nations. Either Obama does not understand what is happening, or he is an accomplice in this plan."

    "Here in Egypt, there is no fighting between two groups. On the one hand, you have the people, Muslims, Christians and others; on the other, there is a small group of terrorists who use religion to get power."

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    See also

    26/07/2011 EGYPT
    The chaos in ruling military council helping Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis
    Following clashes in Cairo on Sunday that left 298 people injured, the situation appears to be slipping out of control from the military. Ranking officer denies any rumours the Council wants to set up another authoritarian regime. For Fr Greiche, Egypt is in chaos and badly run. Many Christians and Muslims fear the country is sliding towards extremism.

    26/11/2012 EGYPT
    Morsi pitting Egyptians against one another, says young Copt
    Liberal and secular-oriented parties have been clashing with Islamists in the past few days, leaving two people dead and 60 injured. For the first time in the country's history, political groups are facing off in the street. Nagui Damain, a young leader in the Jasmine Revolution, fears a civil war.

    26/01/2013 EGYPT
    Egypt, clashes between police and demonstrators: 12 dead and nearly 500 injured
    It is the second anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution. The most serious clashes in Suez, where the army blocked the entrance to the channel. President Mohamed Morsi threatens to use an iron fist against the perpetrators of violence. Port Said in flames after the verdict on the massacre of supporters of the February 2, 2012. Police barracks attacked.

    01/05/2013 EGYPT
    Once a world class destination, Luxor is now a ghost town
    Visitors drop by 70 per cent because of political instability, leaving the city on life support. Once employed in the tourist sector, many residents have had to change job. For locals, the Islamist government is afraid of tourism and wants to see tourism die.

    08/08/2013 EGYPT
    Egypt PM issues ultimatum, telling Muslim Brotherhood to leave protest camps
    Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi tells Muslim Brotherhood protesters "to quickly leave, and return to their homes and work, without being chased." Islamists are in the streets to protest Mohammed Morsi's arrest. After their diplomatic mediation fails, Western diplomats leave a country in a dangerous political deadlock where the Brotherhood and the Armed Forces continue their tug of war.



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