Dozens Dead: Tensions in Egypt Boil Over

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Update, 1:12 p.m. Egypt's health ministry just confirmed the death toll is up to 65 people killed from last night's clashes. 

Original: At least 38 people were killed after a day filled with competing protests between military supporters and those faithful to deposed president Mohammed Morsi reached a frightening climax right before midnight Friday evening. After the first wave of tear gas canisters didn't turn pro-Morsi protestors away, Egyptian security forces fired live rounds into the crowd of pro-Morsi protestors late Friday night, killing at least 38 people so far. That death toll is expected to rise. The New York Times reports seeing at least 49 bodies of protestors at two separate local hospitals after the clashes. Reuters reports seeing 36 bodies at one morgue. One Muslim Brotherhood website says 120 people were killed and over 4,000 injured after the protests. 

"They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill," Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad told reporters. "The bullet wounds are in the head and chest."

With helicopters flying low and tanks in the streets, millions of anti-Morsi supporters gathered Friday for a protest to show support for the new regime. Defense minister Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi had called for mass demonstrations for a "mandate" to fight terrorism, a catch-all term many believe foreshadows a crack-down on the Muslim Brotherhood. 

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But the opposition held their own counter protests on Friday, too, and things turned ugly between thousands of Brotherhood supporters and members of the military late Friday night. The security forces attempting to dispel crowds near Nasr City's Sixth of October Bridge started firing live rounds of ammunition into the crowd, and some civilians started firing on protestors, too. The pro-Morsi crowd was trying to occupy the bridge, Egypt's minister of interior said in a televised statement afterwards, and he gave the order to disperse the crowd after another government official told him the busy bridge couldn't hold the protestors' weight. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.