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Morsy's backers taunted at rally

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By Reuters
Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, 9:18 p.m.
 

CAIRO — One Muslim Brotherhood member was fatally shot and at least 11 people wounded in Egypt on Tuesday, security sources said, with the Islamist group accusing plain clothes police of firing on their march.

The killing could harden the standoff between the Brotherhood, which is demanding the reinstatement of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsy, and the army-backed government.

Authorities have held back from clearing two Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo, and a religious authority made some progress in establishing negotiations, but the shootings and other street clashes showed Egypt remained dangerously divided.

Thousands of Morsy supporters marched to the Interior Ministry earlier in the day and were confronted by residents who threw stones and bottles and taunted them as “terrorists.” Police fired teargas at the demonstration which had brought Cairo traffic to a standstill.

“There's no going forward with negotiations, the only way is back. Morsy must be reinstated,” said Karim Ahmed, a student in a blue hard-hat who waved a picture of Morsy as he flung rocks at a ministry building.

Things remained quiet at the two pro-Morsy protest camps despite the government's frequent demands that protesters end a sit-in that has lasted more than six weeks.

Some officials wish to avoid a bloody showdown that would damage the government's efforts to present itself as legitimate, while hardliners in the army and security forces fear they are losing face to the Brotherhood and want to move in.

More than 300 people have died in political violence since Morsy's overthrow on July 3, including dozens of his supporters killed by security forces in two separate earlier incidents.

Senior Brotherhood politician Farid Ismail said he did not expect the Interior Ministry to break up the encampments by force because of the likely casualty toll.

“It would be a big crime in addition to the crimes already committed, because it will result in a great cost in terms of massacres and dead,” he said. “There are very large numbers, complete families, men, wives, children.”

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