Night Watch

Egypt: At least 51 pro-Mursi demonstrators were killed and 435 injured in clashes at Rabiah Square, near the Cairo headquarters of the Republican Guard. The army said "armed terrorists" tried to storm the base, killing one security officer and critically wounding six others. The Muslim Brotherhood said the demonstrators were massacred during dawn prayers.

The Brotherhood has called for a national uprising against the armed forces. The ultra-conservative Nour Party which supported Mursi's ouster has pulled out of talks about forming a new government.

Late on 8 July its leaders announced an alternative road map that more restores Mursi's policies, rump parliament and the political dominance of conservative Islamic scholars on constitutional matters. Nour leaders accused the new regime and the military of violating the military's road map to which Nour had agreed "only to prevent violence," they claimed.

Interim president, Adly Mansour, set up a judicial commission of inquiry into the killings.

Comment: A careful review of the reporting, including videos, indicates that both versions of what happened are partly accurate. Separate video clips show demonstrators attempting to use force to break into the Republican Guard building. The security force casualties appear to have come from shotguns fired by the and fire bombs thrown by Brothers. The action did coincide with morning prayers. The security forces reacted with overwhelming force.

This appears to have been the main scene of violent clashes reported on 8 July.

This was at least the second third time since Friday that pro-Mursi supporters tried to break into that building because that is one of the two places where Mursi has been reportedly held in custody. A Brother said the other was the Ministry of Defense itself. The Republican Guard building is near the Rabia al Adawiyah Mosque where the Brothers have been assembling since Friday for daily protests.

The Brothers are trying to rescue Mursi. More attempts are likely, which means more deadly clashes.

Official reports and photos indicate they stockpiled a variety of weapons and ammunition in the Brotherhood headquarters, which lends credibility to their leaders' calls to engage in violent protests. Eyewitnesses reported that armed Brothers threatened to shoot them and any pro-Mursi demonstrators who attempted to depart the Rabia Square protest site to return home.

Nour's alternative road map is a bargaining position, which means it is still negotiating.


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