Supporters of Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi have set up a camp near Cairo University. Overnight clashes between supporters and opponents of the country’s ousted president near the university’s main campus left many dead, according to a senior medical official. Confrontations have escalated as the Islamists have broadened their demonstrations.

Khalil Hamra • Associated Press,

Egypt protests devolving into battles

  • Article by: KAREEM FAHIM
  • New York Times
  • July 23, 2013 - 7:39 PM


– At least six people were killed Tuesday near a sit-in held by supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, the latest sign that Egypt’s political impasse is devolving into street battles.

The deaths brought to at least nine the number of people killed over the last 24 hours during clashes in central Cairo, around Cairo University in Giza and north of the city in the Nile Delta, making it one of the deadliest periods since July 8, when more than 50 supporters of Morsi were killed by soldiers and police officers.

On Monday and Tuesday, the former president’s supporters and unidentified opponents fought running battles with firearms, bottles and rocks near Tahrir Square in Cairo and on the edges of two protest sites that have been held by Morsi’s Islamist supporters for weeks. The confrontations have escalated as the Islamists have broadened their demonstrations, marching in cities across the country as part of a determined but so far fruitless effort to restore Morsi to power.

There has been little sign of a solution to the standoff, which started after the military removed Morsi from power on July 3 after mass demonstrations throughout Egypt calling for his ouster. As Egypt’s new military-backed government has moved swiftly to assert its authority, Morsi’s movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, has refused, at least publicly, to abandon its positions.

On Monday, the Brotherhood released a statement reiterating its demands that the “coup must be halted” and that the president, the constitution and the Parliament must be restored.

“It was the putschists’ intention to sow despair in the hearts of the Egyptian people,” the statement said.

Authorities appear to be unable or unwilling to halt the violence. The fighting near the university spread to streets that have become a virtual garrison for army troops and riot police officers. Morsi’s supporters, who have accused the police of joining the fight on the side of their opponents, said that early Tuesday, police officers had fired on demonstrators in at least two ­locations.

That claim was impossible to verify. In front of Cairo University on Tuesday, damaged cars were hauled away. A man yelled “We only want security!” A mother and her two children, carrying suitcases, walked away from the square, toward entrances once flimsily barricaded and now fortified with walls.

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