The bloodiest in decade’s violence in Egypt has been condemned by the UN Security Council. Meanwhile Egyptian law enforcement has been ordered to use deadly force to prevent further riots as the Muslim Brotherhood is bracing for a “march of anger.”
“The view of council members is that it is important to end violence in Egypt and that the parties exercise maximum restraint,” Argentine UN Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval told reporters after an emergency closed session of the body. “There was a common desire on the need to stop violence and to advance national reconciliation.”
Earlier US president Barack Obama cancelled joint military exercises with Egypt showing the displeasure with current situation, although not cutting off US military aid to the country.
“The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt’s interim government and security forces,” Obama said, prompting Egyptian government to fire back saying that his accusations were groundless.
“The presidency fears statements not based on facts may encourage violent armed groups,” Egypt’s interim office said in a statement. “Egypt is facing terrorist acts aimed at government institutions and vital installations.”
Citing the need to protect state property and ensure people’s security, Egyptian authorities have authorized all the security personnel to use deadly force when needed.
“The interior ministry has instructed all forces to use live ammunition to counter any attacks on government buildings or forces,” the ministry said in a statement after hundreds of Morsi supporters stormed a government building in Giza and set it alight on Thursday. Islamist Morsi supporters also targeted dozens of Coptic Christian churches and institutions across Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood meanwhile has called for a Friday “March of Anger” in towns and villages across Egypt, after the deadly crackdown on pro-Morsi sit-ins.
“After the blows and arrests and killings that we are facing, emotions are too high to be guided by anyone,” said Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad.
According to the latest figures from the Egyptian Health Ministry at least 638 people were killed and 3,994 injured after authorities levelled pro-Morsi protest camps on Wednesday. At least 43 of those killed were security personnel.
The opposition however says that at least 4,500 were killed in that massacre. Activists claimed that authorities were raiding mosques and pressuring the relatives of the victims to admit they had committed suicide and refusing to include bodies mutilated by fire into official death toll.
Hundreds of victims’ bodies were stored in makeshift morgues set up in Mosques across Egypt after the massacre. Medics in at least one of them also accused the Health Ministry of understating the real number of casualties.
Following the crackdown, a month-long state of emergency has been declared in major cities including Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, and a dusk-till-dawn curfew imposed which is being ignored by the demonstrators who continue to express their anger over the “military coup.”