Egyptian police mow down pro-Morsi supporters
It's certainly easier to shoot a demonstrator than listen to what he has to say. That, apparently, is now the position of the government of Egypt. You know - the government that came to power in a military coup that Obama says wasn't really a real military coup?
Tiring of the sit in protests against the government's ousting of the elected president, the police moved in to end the demonstrations once and for all, and in the process, set off a massive wave of violence that is shaking the country.
Egyptian security forces stormed two sprawling sit-ins by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi shortly after dawn Wednesday, killing dozens of people and igniting a wave of violent clashes across the country.
A health ministry official, Hamdi Abdel Tawab, said 55 people were dead and at least 562 injured in violence across the country.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which backs the ousted president, put the death toll at more than 2,000. The number could not be confirmed.
Witnesses counted at least 42 bodies at the makeshift hospital run by Morsi supporters at the site of the largest sit-in outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo's Nasr City District.
The Muslim Brotherhood said the 17-year-old daughter of a leading Islamist politician, Mohamed el-Beltagi, was among the protesters shot dead as Egyptian police stormed the Rabaa al-Adawiya, firing automatic rifles, bulldozing tents, and beating and arresting protesters.
Families, including women and children, have camped there alongside male supporters of Morsi for the past six weeks.
At least three journalists, including a cameraman for Britain's Sky News also were killed covering the police raid, according to local media reports.
Black-clad riot police and plainclothes men in flak jackets moved into the camps at about 7 a.m., confronting protesters with a barrage of tear gas, and then gunfire, as armored vehicles plowed through tents.
Plumes of black smoke rose from the Rabaa al-Adawiya encampment, and the sting of tear gas filled the side streets around the sit-in, where security force opened fire on civilian spectators. Some of the security forces moved through the streets carrying assault rifles and wearing black face masks to conceal their identities. A police officer ordered journalists to leave the area or be shot.
This is the sort of thing the US warned Mubarak they would not tolerate. Indeed, if the former dictator had employed these tactics, he might still be in power.
As for the death toll, neither side is reliable. The description of bulldozers running over tents, snipers firing from rooftops, plainclothes thugs shooting into crowds would suggest a death toll in the hundredes, at least.
The question of continued US aid to Egypt is back on the table. I suspect Obama will find a way to keep the aid flowing but at a cost of any credibility he has left that the US stands for democracy.