Violent crackdown on protesters in Egypt – 14 August 2013

Egypt declares a state of emergency as security forces kill hundreds of demonstrators supporting former president Mohamed Morsi. On 14 August 2013, Egyptian security forces launched an assault against two groups of sit-in protesters supporting former president Mohamed Morsi.

The largest protest camp was located at Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, which was destroyed during the assaults. Violent retaliation followed in several cities across the country.

A national state of emergency was declared in response and curfews were instituted in many areas. The Egyptian Health Ministry put the number of dead at 638, of which 595 were civilians and 43 police officers, with at least 3,994 injured.

The total casualty count made 14 August the deadliest day in recent Egyptian history, surpassing the number killed in the 2011 Egyptian revolution which toppled Morsi’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

President Barack Obama “strongly condemned” the violent crackdown on protesters. He also said: “We sustain our commitment to Egypt and its people… but our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual,” while he also announced the cancellation of the Bright Star military exercises between the U.S. and other Arab states.

A spokesperson said the US$1.5billion of aid the United States gives to Egypt annually was under review.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: “The world is watching what is happening in Cairo. We urge the government of Egypt – and all parties in Egypt – to refrain from violence and resolve their differences peacefully. We have repeatedly called on the Egyptian military and security forces to show restraint and for the government to respect the universal rights of its citizens, just as we have urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.” He added that the United States strongly opposed the state of emergency.

Secretary of State John Kerry called the events “deplorable” and a “serious blow” to reconciliation efforts.

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