CAIRO — At least 40 people were killed Wednesday morning as Egyptian security forces cleared one of two sit-in camps set up in support of the country’s ousted president, Mohammed Morsi, and were attempting to clear the other.
There were vastly conflicting reports on the death toll, with the AFP and Reuters news agencies reporting 43 and the Muslim Brotherhood putting the figure at over 600, with thousands injured.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry announced that a number of Muslim Brotherhood officials have been arrested. Their names have yet to be released.
Egyptian state TV was reporting that the smaller of the two camps, outside the Cairo University campus in Giza, was under police control.
At least two members of the security forces were confirmed to have died in the morning’s crackdown.
Security officials said forces were firing tear gas into the larger of the two protest locations in Cairo, the encampment in the eastern Nasr City neighborhood at the entrances to Rabaa El-Adaweya mosque, where thousands have been protesting for more than 40 days to demand the reinstatement of Morsi, Ahram Online reported.
A spokesman for the group tweeted that snipers were firing at protesters, a report that is unconfirmed.
— Gehad El-Haddad (@gelhaddad) August 14, 2013
Regional television networks were also showing images of collapsed tents and burning tires at both sites, with ambulances on standby at the scene. They were also showing protesters being arrested and led away by the troops.
A security official said a total of 200 protesters have been arrested from both sites. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The Egyptian Army has threatened to disperse the protests for several weeks now and has called on the demonstrators to leave peacefully.
At least 250 people have died in clashes following Morsi’s July 3 ouster in a military coup.