Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday called for fresh anti-government protests after security forces ended a tense standoff with supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi at a mosque, even as the death toll in street battles over the past four days rose to over 800.
A statement by the "Anti-Coup Alliance" said several marches would take place in Cairo on Sunday, and the daily campaign of protests in defiance of an intensifying crackdown, would continue. Security was beefed up at a key points ahead of planned mass rallies by pro-Morsi supporters with armoured vehicles and troops being deployed at the Supreme Constitutional Court building in southern Cairo.
Meanwhile, Egypt's military-backed interim government is mulling a proposal to disband the Brotherhood. Interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi has put forward a proposal to legally dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood. The country's cabinet is set to discuss the crisis that erupted after military ousted former president Morsi on July 3, sparking deadly clashes that left hundreds dead.
"There will be no reconciliation with those whose hands have been stained with blood and who turned weapons against the state and its institutions," Beblawi told reporters. His proposal to dissolve the Brotherhood raises the stakes in the struggle for the control of Egypt, BBC reported. If it is acted upon, it could force the group underground and allow its sources of funding to be targeted. Despite being closely allied to deposed President Morsi's government, the Brotherhood has always been a banned organisation, dissolved in 1954 by Egypt's military rulers.
But it recently registered itself as a non-governmental organisation. Egypt's interim government has also implored the global community to listen to its side after days of deadly violence. Members of the foreign ministry showed a video-and-photo montage on Sunday of the recent carnage, blaming terrorists for the chaos.
Since Wednesday, over 800 people have died in clashes that erupted after security forces stormed two camps set up by Morsi loyalists in Cairo demanding his reinstatement. Egypt's security forces cleared the al-Fateh mosque in Cairo on Saturday after a long stand-off with Brotherhood supporters holed up inside. Security forces dragged protesters from the mosque, passing through angry crowds who called them "terrorists" and tried to beat them.
About 250 protesters were being investigated for murder, attempted murder and so-called "terrorism", media reports said. The interior ministry said 1,004 Muslim Brotherhood members had been detained in raids across the country, with bombs, weapons and ammunition seized. The Brotherhood was quoted as saying sons and daughters of leadership figures had been targeted in an attempt to gain leverage over the organisation.
Brotherhood chief Mohamed Badie's son Ammar Badie was among dozens shot dead Cairo on Friday. Egyptian officials said over 1,000 Islamists were arrested after Saturday's protests, dubbed the "Friday of Rage" by the Brotherhood.
"The number of Muslim Brotherhood elements arrested reached 1,004," the interior ministry said in a statement Authorities also arrested the brother of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, a security official said. Mohammed al-Zawahiri, leader of the ultraconservative Jihadi Salafist group, was detained at a checkpoint in Giza.