Egyptian security forces have launched an operation to disperse pro-Morsi sits in at Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares in Cairo and Giza. Protesters have said that the security forces began by closing all entrances that led to the sits- in at Rabaa al-Adawiya. The sources claim that at least 50 people were killed and dozens wounded.
The Egyptian authorities announced that they had seized control of Nahda square and were still working to disperse the sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya square. Abdullah Al-Shami, an al-Jazeera correspondent at the square, said that security forces had unexpectedly stormed the sits-in and began randomly shooting, while tear gas was fired into the podium area and electricity was cut off in the square.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s website initially reported that “the number of martyrs rose to 50”.
According to eyewitnesses, snipers were seen on the roofs of buildings surrounding the square, including the military establishments, while shooting continued. Images then appeared confirming the existence of such snipers. An al-Jazeera correspondent pointed out two helicopters belonging to the army and the interior ministry flying over al-Adawiya square.
A doctor from the field hospital in Nahda square told al-Jazeera that teargas had been shot into the square from all directions and had injured 150 people.
A correspondent near Nahda square, Walid Al Attar, said that the black smoke from inside the squares was very dense and that dozens of the wounded were transported to hospitals by bicycles. He said the protesters called on one other to stay at the sit-ins and invited others to return to the square. Ahmed Al-Banna, a protestor trapped in the sit-in, said the security forces were destroying everything in the square.
Interior Ministry Statement
The Egyptian Interior Ministry issued a second statement today, claiming that armed individuals among the protesters had started shooting heavily at the security officers causing the deaths of an officer and a soldier and wounding several others. The ministry claims it has seized weapons from other protestors.
The ministry confirmed that its forces had gained control of Nahda square and were still trying to control al- Adawiya square. The ministry asked the protesters to end their sit-in immediately.
Mohamed al-Beltagi, a leader at Rabaa al-Adawiya square, said that Egyptian security forces had advanced on Wednesday, and addressed the protesters saying, “God willing our brothers will sleep in front of the armoured vehicles that threaten us”. He added “the podium will organise protests to meet the advancing forces,” and asked journalists to stay on the outskirts of the sit-in anticipating clashes between security forces and protesters.
The Middle East News Agency said that the Egyptian central security camps in Cairo and Giza have witnessed “a state of alert in preparation to start the second phase of the disengagement plan at Rabaa al Adawiya and Nahda which include besieging them.”
The agency quoted witnesses who said that the armed forces bulldozers arrived at Rabaa al-Adawiya outside the sit- in to enforce the blockade. The agency added, “the forces have closed all the streets around Nahda square with barbed wire”.
The Egyptian government said that the disengagement procedures will start by inviting protesters to return home.
The video below has graphic content that may be unsuitable for some.
Three charred corpses for the Muslim Brotherhood members in Al-Nahda Square. The video was published by the Egyptian El-Wattan Newspaper