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Weekend of Rage Likely as Egypt Violence Spirals
Muslim Brotherhood calls for continued protest marches following midweek massacre and amid ongoing crackdown
A "day of rage" on Friday showed no signs of abating this weekend as violence across Egypt, according to reporting on the ground, seemed only to intensify overnight and into Saturday.
Scores of people were again reported killed in Cairo on Friday, just two days after a massacre on Wednesday that left more than 600 people dead and dramatically intensified the political turmoil, leading many to speculate that the country could be headed for a protracted political struggle or even civil war.
Though more concentrated in Cairo, political and sectarian violence resulted in deaths in other Egyptian cities as well. According to Al-Jazeera, citing a government spokesman, "At least 173 people were killed and 1,330 others were injured nationwide on Friday."
Reports on Saturday from Cairo repeated frantic scenes of police firing on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Violence at a central mosque, which had become both a makeshift morgue and refuge for Muslim Brotherhood members, was under assault after gunfire was reported from inside.
From outside and then inside the al-Fath mosque in Ramses Sqaure in Cairo where the violence was underway, journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous posted these videos to youtube:
Correspondents on the ground continued to provide updates via Twitter:
Also being reported was the imposition of a possible ban on the Muslim Brotherhood by the ruling military-backed government, which critics warn would deeply hamper the possibility of peaceful reconciliation.
As Reuters reports:
With anger rising on all sides, and no sign of a compromise in sight, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi proposed the legal dissolution of the Brotherhood - a move that would force the group underground and could lead to a broad crackdown.
"It is being studied currently," said government spokesman Sherif Shawky.
The Brotherhood was officially dissolved by Egypt's military rulers in 1954, but registered itself as a non-governmental organization in March in a response to a court case brought by opponents of the group who were contesting its legality.
And the Guardian adds:
Anti-Brotherhood sentiment has deepened since Wednesday after several reports of revenge attacks on policemen and Christians across the country – reinforcing the image of Islamists as terrorists. Morsi's removal had broad backing, but some of his supporters have scapegoated Egypt's Coptic Christian community – which forms about 10% of the population – for supporting his overthrow.
The Brotherhood denied responsibility despite the sectarian rhetoric of many members. A spokesman said the Iman mosque in north-east Cairo, which had been filled with the rotting corpses of people who died on Wednesday, was stormed by armed security officials during the new overnight curfew imposed along with restored emergency laws.