Three shot dead as Morsi backers march on Egypt army
CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
Egyptian supporters of President Mohamed Morsi hold posters bearing his portrait during a rally outside Cairo University on June 3. AFP photoA deadly gunfight erupted in Cairo on Friday as thousands of supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi marched on the Republican Guard headquarters during mass rallies against the Islamist's ouster.
An AFP correspondent said at least three people were killed and many others wounded as shooting broke out after thousands of Islamist demonstrators approached the headquarters chanting "traitors" and "Morsi is our president".
The bodies of two people were covered with sheets, said the correspondent, adding that another protester was shot in the head and fell to the ground, parts of his brain spilling from his skull.
Shots rang out after one Morsi supporter tried to hang a picture of the ousted leader on barbed wire outside the headquarters, said the AFP correspondent.
He was warned twice by members of the Republican Guard not to approach the building before they started shooting.
Gunfire could then be heard from both directions, and security forces also later used tear gas.
Interim president dissolves Shura Council, appoints new intelligence chief
Meanwhile, Egypt’s interim head of state Adly Mansour who was appointed after the army ousted Morsi dissolved parliament by decree, state television said.
Only the upper house, the Shura Council, had remained active after the lower house was dissolved by military-led authorities shortly before Morsi was elected a year ago.
State TV also said that Adli Mansour, the Constitutional Court chief justice sworn in as head of state yesterday, had appointed Mohamed Ahmed Farid as head of intelligence.
He replaces Mohamed Raafat Shehata, a Morsi appointee, who becomes national security adviser to Mansour.
Earlier, Egypt's military appealed for conciliation and warned against revenge attacks after it toppled president Mohamed Morsi, as police rounded up senior Islamists ahead of planned rallies by Morsi's supporters on July 5.
The military published the statement on its spokesman's Facebook page as scores were injured in clashes between the Islamist Morsi's supporters and opponents in the Nile Delta ahead of the planned rallies.
In the restive Sinai peninsula, a soldier was killed in an attack by Islamist militants early Friday, as gunmen ambushed several army and police positions with machine gun fire and rockets.
Some militants in the peninsula had threatened a violent response after Morsi's ouster on Wednesday.
The military statement said it supported the right to peaceful protest, but warned that violence and civil disobedience acts such as blocking roads would "harm social peace." The clashes in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya broke out hours after chief justice Mansour was sworn in as interim president until new elections, at a ceremony broadcast live from the Supreme Constitutional Court.
The Islamists accuse the military of conducting a brazen coup against Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected but controversial president, following massive protests calling for the Islamist's ouster.
Morsi's Musim Brotherhood movement has called for peaceful protests on Friday against the "coup," as police continue to hunt its leaders.
The military statement said "exceptional and autocratic measures against any political group" should be avoided, even as security forces rounded up top Muslim Brotherhood officials.
Police arrested the Brotherhood's supreme leader Mohammed Badie "for inciting the killing of protesters", a security official told AFP.
Former supreme guide Mahdi Akef was also arrested, state television reported.
Morsi himself was "preventively detained" by the military, a senior officer had told AFP early July 4, hours after his overthrow the night before, suggesting the ousted president might face trial.
"The armed forces believe that the forgiving nature and manners of the Egyptian people, and the eternal values of Islam, do not allow us to turn to revenge and gloating," the army said in its statement.
The United States on July 4 pressed Egyptian officials to avoid the "arbitrary arrests" of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and his supporters, a US administration official said.
Morsi's government unravelled late on Wednesday after the army gave him a 48-hour ultimatum in the wake of massive demonstrations since June 30 against his turbulent year in office.
In Cairo, anger gave way to gloom as thousands of the embattled Islamist movement's supporters rallied at a mosque, surrounded by the army.
"It's a soft military coup. The military was smart, using the cover of civilians," said one, 26-year-old Ahmed al-Sayyed, in reference to the mass anti-Morsi protests.
Military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced Morsi's overthrow on July 3, citing his inability to end a deepening political crisis, as dozens of armoured personnel carriers streamed onto Cairo's streets.
A judicial source said the prosecution would on July 8 begin questioning Brotherhood members, including Morsi, for "insulting the judiciary".
Other leaders of the movement would be questioned on the same charges, including the head of its political arm Saad al-Katatni, Mohammed al-Beltagui, Gamal Gibril and Taher Abdel Mohsen. Morsi and 35 other Brotherhood leaders have also had a travel ban imposed on them.