CAIRO (AP) — Clashes between supporters and opponents of the country’s ousted president before dawn on Tuesday near the main campus of Cairo University left six dead, a senior medical official said.
Khaled el-Khateeb, who heads the Health Ministry’s emergency and intensive care department, said the six died close to the site of a sit-in by supporters of Mohammed Morsi, ousted by the military on July 3 after a year in office.
The ouster of Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, followed massive street protests by millions of Egyptians demanding that the Islamist president step down. His supporters are calling for his reinstatement and insist they will not join the military-backed political process until then.
The latest clashes capped a day marred by violence in several parts of the country.
In the town of Qalioub north of Cairo, three people were killed Monday in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi. Backers of the two sides also fought near the site of the main sit-in by Morsi supporters in an eastern Cairo district and in the central Tahrir square, birthplace of the 2011 uprising that toppled the regime of Morsi’s authoritarian predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.
More than 80 people were injured on Monday, according to el-Khateeb.
Morsi’s family denounced the military in a Monday news conference, accusing it of “kidnapping” him, and European diplomats urged that he be released after being held incommunicado for nearly three weeks since his ouster.
The fate of Morsi, who has been held without charge, has become a focus of the political battle between Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and the new military-backed government.
The Brotherhood has tried to use his detention to rally the country to its side, hoping to restore its badly damaged popularity. The interim government, in turn, appears in part to be using it to pressure his supporters into backing down from their protests demanding his reinstatement.
So far, however, the outcry over Morsi’s detention seems to have gained little traction beyond the president’s supporters, without bringing significantly greater numbers to its ongoing rallies around the country.
In a toughly worded statement Monday, the Brotherhood laid out a plan for resolving the crisis that was little changed from what Morsi proposed in his final days in office. It said Morsi must first be reinstated along with the now-dissolved upper house of parliament and the suspended constitution, followed by new parliamentary elections that would start a process for amending the constitution, and then a “national dialogue” could be held.
It denounced those behind Morsi’s ouster as “putschists” and accused “coup commanders, with foreign support” of overthrowing “all the hopes in a democratic system.”
Interim President Adly Mansour repeated calls for reconciliation in a nationally televised speech late Monday. “We … want to turn a new page in the nation’s book,” he said. “No contempt, no hatred, no divisions and no collisions.” His speech marked the 61st anniversary of a military coup that toppled the monarchy and ushered the start of decades of de facto military rule.