However, more than a week after the military coup against Muslim Brotherhood-aligned President Morsi, the U.S. government has yet to call it a "coup" or suspend foreign aid payments to Egypt.
The Washington Post reported: “State-run television said that 51 people were killed and 435 were wounded in the shooting. Mahmoud Zaqzooq, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, said 53 were shot dead, including five children.” But the Muslim Brotherhood website, Ikwhanweb, set the total wounded at more than 1,000.
Military government spokesmen blamed the protesters for the violence, according to the Washington Post, quoting military spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Ali as claiming that “Any law in the world allows soldiers to defend Egyptian security when confronted with live fire. We are no longer talking about peaceful protests.” The military spokesman stressed that pictures distributed by the military to the media indicated that the Muslim Brotherhood supporters came into the courtyard prepared for violence: “You saw the video where they have guns, spears, grenades," The spokesman told the Post, “When the opponents of Morsi gather, do you have violence? No. When the supporters of Morsi rally, people get killed. They’re the ones who carry guns.”
However, it has become clear the Egyptian military incurred minimal losses in the threat. According to the New York Times, “At least 51 civilians were killed, all or most of them shot, and more than 300 wounded, doctors and health officials said. Security officials said at least one police officer died as well.” The police officer in question may have been hit by friendly fire, according to eyewitness accounts that place him in a car near where protesters had fled from military gunfire. Additionally, the New York Times account suggested that “Some of the blood and bullet holes were hundreds of yards from the walls of the facility’s guard house, suggesting that the soldiers continued firing as the demonstrators fled.”
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Photo of protesters in Cairo: AP Images