Egyptian government security forces conducted operations on August 14 to clear two camps in Cairo occupied by supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, many of them followers of the Muslim Brotherhood. Government troops supported by armored vehicles moved into the camps, using tear gas to disperse crowds and bulldozers to level makeshift structures.
A report in the Los Angeles Times said that troops stormed pro-Morsi sit-ins at Cairo University and across the Nile outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.
The Times report said that the raids began shortly before 7 a.m. Cairo time, with the smaller protest at Cairo University being cleared first as Morsi supporters, many of them followers of his Muslim Brotherhood movement, reportedly escaped through trees and into a nearby zoo. Other protesters fought police as barricades were overrun and snipers peered down from high buildings.
The larger protest encampment at Rabaa offered more resistance to government forces. Thousands of Morsi’s supporters had been camped in that location over the last six weeks. Security forces set tents on fire and used bulldozers to clear barricades as helicopters buzzed overhead.
A security officer fired in the direction of a Times reporter who was surveying the scene near a dead protester’s body, and the reporter ran away from the tents to a safe location close to a nearby apartment building. The Times reported:
The military-backed government had threatened for weeks to storm the camps but had several times delayed operations over fears of widespread bloodshed, including deaths of women and children. But hard-liners in the government had pressed the military and the Interior Ministry to clear the sit-ins, which had been organized by the Brotherhood.
Reuters news reported that hours after the raids, Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, declared a state of emergency, under which security forces may arrest and detain civilians indefinitely without charge.
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo of Egyptian security forces in Cairo: AP Images