London, Asharq Al-Awsat—At least three people have been reported killed in Cairo today as Egyptian soldiers opened fire on pro-Mursi supporters. The clashes occurred on the same that Egypt’s interim president Adly Masnour ordered the dissolution of Egypt’s upper house of parliament, leaving Egypt without an upper or lower parliamentary chamber.
Thousands of Mursi supporters demonstrated outside the Republican Guard barracks in Cairo where the deposed Islamist president is reportedly being held. Protesters threw rocks and chanted insults at the Egyptian military guarding Mursi, demanding the ousted president’s release. At least three people were reported killed by gunshots and others injured.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Gehad El-Haddad subsequently tweeted that the shootings had not been carried out by Republican Guards, but by military police stationed nearby. He added that it was unclear if the shootings were the result of panic, or had been ordered from above.
A military spokesman denied that the army was using live ammonisation against protests, telling Reuters that only blank rounds and tear gas have been authorized.
The latest violence raises fears of violence after the Muslim Brotherhood called for nation-wide demonstrations to protest Mursi’s ouster, labelling this a military coup. The Brotherhood called for a “day of rejection” on Friday.
The Egyptian military has clamped down strongly on the Islamist organization following the ouster of Mursi and swearing-in of interim president Adly Mansour. Arrest warrants have been issued for senior Brotherhood leaders across the country, including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, and Deputy Guide Khairat El-Shater.
Badie was arrested in Marsa Matruh—close to the Libyan border—at the request of the Egyptian authorities “for inciting the killing of protesters,” officials told AFP. Khairat Al-Shater was also arrested on charges of inciting violence against protesters.
Mohamed El-Beltagy, one of the few senior Brotherhood leaders not arrested, warned that the military overthrow of the elected president will push other groups to violent resistance.
“The issue is not with members of the Brotherhood being in or out of prison…the issue now is the position of the free world that is pushing groups, although not the Brotherhood, to return to the idea of change by force,” he told reporters.
A Muslim Brotherhood statement read to supporters near the Rabia Al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo, proclaimed: “We declare our complete rejection of the military coup staged against the elected president and the will of the nation. We refused to participate in any activities with the uprising authorities.”
Pro-Mursi marches are also taking place in Alexandria and Beheira in the north, as well as Minya in Upper Egypt.
Egyptian troops and Islamist supporters of the deposed president also clashed in El-Arish in North Sinai, and Suez and Ismailia on the Suez Canal. Protesters reportedly tried to take control of government buildings in all three towns, resulting in troops firing teargas to disperse the crowds.
Interim president Adly Mansour also appointed Mohammed Ahmed Faris as Egypt’s new intelligence chief, replacing Mursi pick Raafat Shehata.