14 Aug 2013

Bloodshed as Morsi supporters cleared

11:02 pm on 14 August 2013

Egyptian security forces moved in to clear two protest camps occupied by supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi in Cairo on Wednesday, with reports of many killed.

The Egyptian Cabinet has convened an emergency meeting and security forces said that pro-Morsi protesters also clashed with police in the cities of Minya and Assiut. Protesters were also gathering in Alexandria, Aswan and Suez.

Supporters of Mr Morsi have been occupying Nahda Square and the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in the eastern part of the captial since he was ousted on 3 July and want him reinstated.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which supports Mr Morsi, said more than 100 have been killed in Cairo, but authorities put the death toll much lower, the BBC reports.

Authorities said the Nahda Square camp in western Cairo has been cleared and a "mopping up" operation in the streets surrounding it was being carried out.

State TV showed armoured bulldozers moving deep into the main camp outside the mosque. Witnesses spoke of seeing dozens of bodies on the ground, and the Muslim Brotherhood described the security forces' intervention as "a massacre".

Sources at a field hospital used by the Muslim Brotherhood say hundreds more people have been wounded.

The health ministry said seven people were killed and 67 injured. At least two members of the security forces were among the dead and nine were injured, officials said.

The interior ministry denied that any deaths were caused by its forces firing live ammunition and said several Muslim Brotherhood leaders had been arrested.

Meanwhile, interim president Adli Mansour has sworn-in at least 18 new provincial governors, half of them retired generals, reversing Mr Morsi's appointment of civilians.

NZ travel warning

In New Zealand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is continuing to advise New Zealanders against all tourist and other non-essential travel to Egypt.

MFAT's travel advice was updated on 13 August to include a reference to the possibility of local authorities trying to remove protesters from locations - an action which could result in violent clashes.

There are currently 215 New Zealanders registered with MFAT as being in Egypt.