At least 34 people have been killed and scores more injured Sunday in Egypt as pro-Mohammed Morsi protesters took to the streets on the 40th anniversary of the 1973 war with Israel - known as the "Yom Kippur War" by Israelis, and the "October War" by Arabs.
There were rival protests Sunday throughout Egypt. On the one hand, there were demonstrations by Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other members of the Anti-Coup Alliance - a coalition that opposes the way the Brotherhood's political leader Morsi was deposed. On the other hand, there were government-organized demonstrations to commmemorate the 1973 war.
Al Jazeera quoted Khaled Al Khatib, a Health Ministry official, who confirmed the number of deaths. Seven of those were killed in Ramses Square in Cairo, while another 85 people were injured in clashes throughout the country. Another man was reportedly shot to death in Delga, south of Cairo.
Egypt's Interior Ministry announced that 300 protesters were arrested thoughout the day.
Police reportedly fired tear gas and shots “into the air” to disperse crowds opposed to the military-backed government, who were trying to make their way to Tahrir Square. Inside the square, thousands of pro-military Egyptians were gathered to mark the anniversary of the war, which is hailed as a victory by Egyptians despite the ultimate military failure of the Arab alliance to achieve its military objectives.
Anti-Coup Alliance called on “all Egyptians” to stream to Tahrir Square in a message on Saturday, in a continuation of anti-government protests launched since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July.
But Interim President Adly Mansour took advantage of nationalist sentiment to mobilise its own demonstrations in commemoration of the Yom Kippur War's anniversary.
In a televised speech on Saturday, Mansour said that authorities will “defeat much-hated terrorism and blind violence with the rule of law that will protect the freedom of citizens and resources.”