The armed forces are struggling put a lid on the simmering discontent in Egypt after hundreds of deaths in forcible break-up of supporters' camps. They were protesting against the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in the worst bloodshed in decades. The Islamists clashed with the police and the troops who used bulldozers, teargas and live fire to clear out two Cairo sit-ins that had become a hub of Muslim Brotherhood resistance after the miulitary had deposed Morsi on July 3.
The clashes spread quickly, resulting in 300 deaths and more than 2,000 injured in Cairo, Alexandria and others cities. The crackdown defied the western world's appeals for a peaceful settlement to Egypt's political stand-off, prompting international statements of condemnation. The military-installed government had declared a month-long emergency and imposed a curfew on Cairo and 10 other provinces.
The Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel winner who had supported the ouster of Egypt's first freely elected president, resigned over the use of force to end the stand-off. Other liberals and in the interim government did not follow suit.
The Brotherhood has publicly rejected any plan that did not involve Morsi's restoration to office. Despite the lockdown, Morsi supporters tried to gather at El Iman mosque in Nasr City to start a new sit-in to replace the main camp dispersed at the Rabaa al-Adawiya square. They chanted "down, down, military rule" and "police are thugs," In the meanwhile, the Egyptian state television broadcast footage of the burning remains of sprawling tent cities and images of handmade guns it said were found at the sites.