Cairo. Supporters of Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi plan to march in the capital, Cairo, and reiterated that they are committed to peaceful struggle one day after hundreds of their supporters were killed in a bloody crackdown.
“Marches are planned this afternoon from al-Iman mosque to protest the deaths,” a coalition of Morsi’s supporters said in a statement on Thursday, referring to a mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City neighbourhood.
World leaders condemned the attack on protesters who had been camped out for nearly seven weeks calling for the reinstatement of Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president. He was deposed by the army on July 3. ”We will always be non-violent and peaceful. We remain strong, defiant and resolved,” Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad wrote on his Twitter feed. “We will push [forward] until we bring down this military coup,” he added.
Protests erupted nationwide after the Cairo crackdown, and at least 525 people were killed across the country, according to official statistics.
An Egyptian health ministry spokesman, Khaled el-Khateeb, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the number of injured in the previous day’s violence had risen to 3,572.
Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson reporting from the Iman Mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City, said: “There are absolutely horrific scenes here just as funerals begin. The bodies are all across the floor surrounded by bloody shrouds. Lots of relatives crying, lots of anger.”
The military-installed government defended the crackdown, saying authorities had no choice but to act.
A curfew imposed overnight was relaxed in the morning, and traffic started flowing through the areas where clashes occurred on Wednesday.
At the site of one Cairo sit-in, garbage collectors cleared still-smouldering piles of burnt tents on Thursday. Soldiers dismantled the stage at the heart of the protest camp. A burnt out armoured vehicle stood abandoned in the street.
In Ankara, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the UN Security Council to convene quickly and act after what he described as a massacre in Egypt. ”Those who remain silent in the face of this massacre are as guilty as those who carried it out. The UN Security Council must convene quickly,” he said at a news conference.
The Muslim Brotherhood has said the true death toll was far higher, with a spokesman saying 2,000 people had been killed in the “massacre”.
It was impossible to verify the figures independently given the extent of the violence.
The military-installed government has declared a month-long state of emergency and imposed the dusk-to-dawn curfew on Cairo and 10 other provinces.
The state of emergency allows the government to detain people indefinitely, a power it held for decades until the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in a 2011 popular uprising.
Vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, resigned in dismay at the use of force instead of a negotiated end to the long-running standoff.