Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi crowded the streets of Cairo on Friday for a “Day of Rage.”
Using the slogan “the people want to topple the coup,” the Muslim Brotherhood reportedly called for fresh protests following a bloody police crackdown at pro-Morsi sit-ins on Wednesday that left more than 600 dead.
Egyptian security and health officials have reported at least 17 deaths in several cities in the latest clashes between security forces and protesters, according to AP. Foreign correspondents gave accounts of police firing tear gas, as protesters informed them of gun fire and chaos around the October 6 bridge in Cairo.
"Old men, young ladies, old women, under attack,” a protester, Ahmed Tohami, said live on Al-Jazeera.
“The kids here on the bridge, we are under attack. There is no way down. Hundreds of thousands of us are on the bridge. They are attacking us from the front; they are attacking us from behind. We have nowhere to go.”
Additional marches described as peaceful thus far are underway in Alexandria, Gaza and other cities, according to Al-Jazeera.
Meanwhile, BBC News reported that Egypt’s small Christian communities have faced unprecedented attacks over the past week during a campaign of intimidation.
In the wake of the torching of two government buildings on Thursday morning, the military-led interim government authorized police to use deadly force to protect themselves and vital institutions from attacks.
While the president has insisted that U.S. cooperation could not continue amid civilian killings, his reluctance to refer to the situation in Egypt as a coup and cut off the $1.3 billion aid given to Egypt has drawn heavy criticism both nationally and internationally.
After an emergency Security Council meeting on Thursday, the U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay appealed to all groups in Egypt to act with “the utmost restraint” and begin talks “with the aim of restoring constitutional order through free and democratic elections.”
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(Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP Photo)