Egypt On Edge After Week Of Deadly Violence

7:34 AM, Aug 18, 2013   |    comments
Egyptian military vehicles block a road leading to the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp in Cairo as Egyptian police try to disperse supporters of Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi on August 14, 2013. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said at least 250 people were killed and over 5,000 injured in a police crackdown on two major protest camps held by supporters of Morsi. AFP PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES / KHALED DESOUKI
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CAIRO - Egyptian banks and the stock exchange reopened Sunday as the capital tried to get back to normal after a week of violence that killed more than 800.

Traffic was back on the streets and some shops reopened Sunday - the start of the work week in Egypt - but with an alliance of political groups calling for more protests, many Egyptians remained on edge. Tahrir Square remained closed, blocked by barbed wire and security forces.

A Muslim Brotherhood-led coalition of groups furious over the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi on July 3 called for new protests Sunday in Cairo and Giza, Al Jazeera reported. Rallies are expected to begin by late afternoon and will converge in Heliopolis' Roxy Square and at the Supreme Constitutional Court in Maadi.

The marches will test if violence will persist as protesters defy a ballooning crackdown and widening state campaign against Islamists.

The European Union said Sunday it will "urgently review" its relations with Egypt. The Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council, Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy, said Sunday in a rare joint foreign policy statement that it's the responsibility of the army and the interim government to end the violence.

They say calls for democracy and fundamental rights "cannot be disregarded, much less washed away in blood," adding "the violence and the killings of these last days cannot be justified nor condoned."

EU foreign ministers are expected to hold an emergency meeting on Egypt this week.

On Wednesday, security forces crushed two protest camps where people stayed for more than six weeks to demand Morsi's reinstatement. Over the weekend, they battled with protesters after the Brotherhood called for a 'Friday of Anger.'

On Saturday, security forces surrounded, then cleared, a central Cairo mosque that protesters had turned into a makeshift hospital and morgue after fighting broke out Friday, and exchanged gunfire with assailants shooting from the mosque's minaret.

Since Wednesday, some Morsi supporters have waged a violent retaliatory campaign on churches and Christian properties, attacking dozens of sites as well as police stations.

Egypt is facing "war by the forces of extremism" and will confront it with "security measures within the framework of law," Mostafa Hegazy, adviser to Egypt's interim president, said in a press conference Saturday.

The government also announced Saturday that it is examining possibilities of dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood, the 85-year-old movement that has won in every election since the 2011 ouster of Hosni Mubarak. Over the past six weeks, many of its leaders and members were jailed, including Morsi, the nation's first freely elected president.


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