Death Toll Continues to Increase in Egypt Clashes

On Friday, in clashes across the country the death toll increased by 173 in Egypt, said a spokesman for the government Saturday morning.

The spokesman also announced that as of Saturday over 800 people had been killed and 1,330 people had been injured since the fighting started on Wednesday. At the same time, security officials from Egypt said they arrested Ayman al-Zawahri’s brother. Al-Zawahri is the top leader of al-Qaeda.

Just a day after Cairo marches became one of the country’s fiercest street battles over the past 24 months, supporters of Mohamed Morsi, the ousted Egyptian President, were defying the government’s state of emergency by holding new protests.

On Saturday, as the sun came over the horizon, security forces from the government and Morsi backers were in a standoff. Overnight, hundreds barricaded themselves inside the al-Fatah mosque. They pushed furniture up against all the doors to keep police from getting in.

Police negotiated with the protesters inside and promised they would have safe passage when they left. Small groups could be seen coming out of the mosque, but others are believed to still be inside.

The mosque near Ramses Square, which was the scene of intense clashes on Friday, was used for a field hospital and temporary morgue earlier on Friday.

With the curfew set for 7 pm on Friday, an eerie quiet took hold on the city. Usually the city is very busy at that time.

The streets near the biggest clashes on Friday were being patrolled by uniformed and plains clothes police, along with other groups of forces across the capital. Every vehicle that passed was stopped by security forces and questioned, but there were few of them on the street.

After the violence had stopped on Friday, the Muslim Brotherhood was calling for another week of protests. They said they would march across Egypt until the coup was broke and their president Morsi, was put back in power.

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