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Egyptian Islamists Call End To Rally, Vow Daily Protests

  • RFE/RL

A woman holds the Koran aloft as supporters of ousted Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi take to the streets in Cairo on August 16.

A woman holds the Koran aloft as supporters of ousted Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi take to the streets in Cairo on August 16.

Egyptian Islamists have called a halt to a protest rally after at least 70 died in clashes across the country.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood vowed a week of continuing daily nationwide protests by supporters of deposed president Muhammad Morsi.

At least 50 people were reported killed in Cairo alone on August 16 along with 20 others elsewhere in Egypt.

The brotherhood had called for a "Friday of Anger" to protest the killing of hundreds of Islamist supporters on August 14.

One pro-Morsi supporter told reporters that it was not just Islamists but people from all walks of life who were among the protestors.

"Today is a day of rage, it's not just Salafis [Sunni Islamists], if you move your cameras you will see Salafis, [Muslim] Brotherhood, people from all of Egyptian society," he said. "The media suppression and cover-up they are doing is not going to do them any good -- all the people are in the streets and the governorates in southern Egypt are completely out of control. We are people who will not accept being pushed. No matter how much you push against us, no matter how much you kill, we are continuing and will continue till the end and even if they kill the last one of us, we will continue till the end."

Egypt's interim authorities have raised the death toll from the clashes on August 14 to more than 620.

The Muslim Brotherhood says more than 2,000 died that day when police forcibly cleared two protest camps in Cairo.

Meanwhile, international criticism over the violence in Egypt continues to grow.

The United Nations' Security Council has urged "restraint" and called for "national reconciliation."

U.S. President Barack Obama has canceled planned joint military exercises next month with Egypt.

European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton said on August 16 that responsibility for the tragedy “weighs heavily” on Egypt’s interim government. She urged EU member states to agree "appropriate measures" in response.

After speaking with French President Francois Hollande by phone on August 16, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany would review its ties with Egypt and the European Union should do the same.

Turkish's Islamist-rooted government has harshly denounced the crackdown on Morsi's supporters. Turkey and Egypt have said they are recalling their ambassadors for consultations in the wake of the violence.

However, some regional states supported the Egyptian government's crackdown.

Saudi King Abdullah pledged his country's support for Egypt's fight against "terrorism," saying it was the military-backed government's "legitimate right."

Jordan’s King Abdullah called on Arabs to stand together against attempts to destabilize Egypt.

Egypt’s interim presidency has rejected international criticism, saying it is not based on "facts" and could encourage activities by "violent armed groups."

With reporting by Reuters, Al-Jazeera, the BBC, and AFP