Egyptian celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Arab-Israeli War were marred by a fresh wave of violence, with 34 people killed and dozens wounded in clashes between police and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
According to an Egyptian Health Ministry official, 30 people were killed in the capital of Cairo and in Giza on Sunday. Three persons were also killed in Beni Suef, and one in Delga in Minya, Ahram Online reported. Most of the dead had gunshot wounds, security sources told Reuters. Over 200 got injuries.
At least 200 pro-Morsi supporters were arrested as they attempted to “storm Egyptian public squares” on Sunday, the country’s Interior Ministry said.
In Cairo, Egyptian police fired tear gas to disperse pro-Morsi demonstrators as they marched towards Tahrir Square, where pro-army supporters gathered to celebrate the 1973 war anniversary. The tear gas and birdshots reportedly sent protesters running towards western Cairo’s Dokki neighborhood. Police chased demonstrators and beat them up before detaining them, a witness told AFP.
The military wanted to protect the celebrations of the anniversary, which are now in full swing at Tahrir Square, according to RT’s Cairo-based correspondent Bel Trew. Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour called on people to come to the streets to celebrate what he called “a national day of pride.” Trew stated that Mansour did not want to see Muslim Brotherhood supporters causing trouble during the festivities. She said there were many people in the streets “with quite severe injuries in addition to being beaten heavily by people who were mingling with the security forces in support of the military.”
Clashes also erupted in the Garden City district in the center of the capital, where police fired tear gas and chased protesters along the Nile Corniche, forcing some demonstrators to jump into the water. Police boats were sent to retrieve protesters.
Unrest was reported in other parts of Cairo and in several other cities, including Alexandria, Aswan, and Suez. Earlier on Sunday, a pro-Morsi supporter was killed and at least two people were injured after clashes with police erupted during a protest march in the town of Delga, located 300 kilometers south of the capital.
At Tahrir Street in Giza, sporadic heavy gunfire coming from two directions. Chaos
— Bel Trew (@Beltrew) October 6, 2013
Amid fears of new violence in the divided nation, security forces and armored vehicles were heavily deployed in Egyptian cities as events were held to commemorate the October 1973 war, known as the Yom Kippur War in Israel. The Interior Ministry warned earlier that it would “firmly confront” any violence during the celebrations.
Egypt has remained dangerously divided after the military overthrow of democratically elected Morsi in July, following his turbulent year in office. The coup was followed by a harsh crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, along with arrests of its leaders and other officials.
The former Egyptian leader is facing trial for inciting the murders of protesters outside the Presidential Palace in Cairo in December 2012, when at least 12 people were killed in clashes. Egypt’s new rulers also accuse Morsi of conspiring with Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and plotting to attack police stations during the revolution two years ago which overthrew his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.