Egypt gets closer to civil war

The Herald reports:

Security forces stormed two huge Cairo protests by supporters of Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi, prompting the resignation of vice president Mohamed ElBaradei and sparking nationwide violence which left at least 149 people dead.

With clashes breaking out across the country and rioting erupting in Egypt’s second city Alexandria, Egypt’s army-installed authorities declared a month-long state of emergency effective from 4:00 pm Wednesday (2am Thursday NZ time).

They also slapped Cairo and other provinces with curfews between 7:00 pm and 6:00 am.

Gory photographs and video images of the Cairo bloodbath dominated social media networks as world powers called for restraint and condemned the show of force by Egypt’s security forces.

Four churches were attacked in Egypt, with Christian activists accusing Morsi loyalists of waging “a war of retaliation against Copts in Egypt”.

The violence is not just between the Army and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is also attacking Coptic churches.

But the anger against the Islamist movement was evident Wednesday as residents of several neighbourhoods clashed with Morsi loyalists.

Clashes also erupted between security forces and Morsi loyalists in the northern provinces of Alexandria and Beheira, the canal provinces of Suez and Ismailiya and the central provinces of Assiut and Menya.

In Alexandria, hundreds of angry Morsi supporters marched through the streets armed with wooden clubs chanting “Morsi is my president”.

An AFP reporter said the protesters set fire to car tyres and tore down pictures of army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was behind the Islamist leader’s July 3 overthrow.

At one cafe where Sisi’s picture was hanging, they smashed the doors and beat up the patrons as they shouted “Sisi is a killer”.

It is difficult to see how Egypt can return to having a democratically elected President, who is seen as legitimate by the overwhelming majority of the country.

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