Monday night clashes in Cairo between security forces, supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and his opponents left seven dead, 261 wounded and 401 people arrested, as Egypt’s military-backed interim government attempted to enact its transition plan.
Members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood had blocked the Sixth of October Bridge, a significant road usually filled with heavy traffic, when police fired tear gas to break up the protest.
More clashes were reported in the southwest district of Giza, and four of the seven killed were reported to have died in clashes near the main Cairo University campus, according to the Associated Press.
Last night’s violence is the worst since last week, when at least 51 pro-Morsi protesters were killed and 435 injured during fighting outside the Republican Guard headquarters.
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These latest outbreaks come as United States Deputy Secretary of State William Burns — the first high-level diplomat to visit Egypt since the ousting of Morsi on July 3 — continues his meetings in Cairo with interim leaders President Adly Mansour, Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi and the commander of the armed forces, General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.
Burns repeated the official White House position, saying the US — “as outsiders” — will not take sides and support a political personality or party in what has become a deeply divided Egypt.
“What we’re going to continue to try to do is to support an open inclusive, tolerant democratic process,” he said. “We hope it will be a chance to learn some of the lessons and correct some of the mistakes of the last two years.”
“Only Egyptians can determine their future,” Burns said at the US embassy. “I did not come with American solutions. Nor did I come to lecture anyone. We will not try to impose our model on Egypt.”
The interim government has said it will form a panel by next week to create amendments to Egypt’s much-debated constitution and set a timeframe for new elections. However, Morsi’s supporters still demand that the ousted president — who has not been heard from for some time — be reinstated.