Egypt Crisis: Cairo Quiet After Deadly Crackdown

The Egyptian capital Cairo is reported quiet after a crackdown on Islamists which left hundreds dead and drew international condemnation.

At least 421 people died when security forces stormed two camps which supporters of ousted leader Mohammed Morsi set up in the city last month.

A state of emergency was declared and curfews imposed in Egyptian cities.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the “deplorable” events were “a real blow to reconciliation efforts”.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also criticised the use of force.

Egyptians are waking up to a frightening and uncertain future, the BBC’s Bethany Bell reports from Cairo.

Even after the curfew was lifted on Thursday morning, there was very little traffic out on the central streets and the bridges across the Nile, she says.

‘Serious blow’

On Thursday morning, refuse collectors could be seen clearing the remains of the protest camp near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, while soldiers dismantled scaffolding. Charred posters of Mr Morsi lay in heaps of debris.

The demonstrators had been demanding the reinstatement of Mr Morsi, who was removed by the military on 3 July.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which backed the sit-ins near the mosque and in Nahda Square, says the true number of people killed on Wednesday is more than 2,000.

According to the military-backed interim government, at least 43 police officers are among the dead. A further 2,926 people were injured.

The Muslim Brotherhood is likely to continue with its protests, says BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen.

They waited 80 years to take power in Egypt and they feel that power was taken away from them unjustly, he adds.

Mr Kerry said Egypt’s political reconciliation efforts had suffered a “serious blow”.

“This is a pivotal moment for all Egyptians,” he said. “The path toward violence leads only to greater instability, economic disaster and suffering.”

The office of UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he regretted that the Egyptian authorities had chosen to use force while “the vast majority of the Egyptian people want their country to go forward peacefully in an Egyptian-led process towards prosperity and democracy”.

“Strongly” condemning the violence, Mrs Ashton said that “only a concerted effort by all Egyptians and the international community might lead the country back on a path to inclusive democracy”.