08/16/2013, 00.00
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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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