Editor’s Note: Given the magnitude of the recent events in Egypt, we have decided to focus today’s edition exclusively on Egypt.
Egypt’s Death Toll Mounts: Over 600 Dead
The death toll of yesterday’s military-led crackdown in Egypt has surpassed 600, leaving thousands injured and the country even more unstable than before in the single largest day of violence in modern Egyptian history. The interim prime minister, Hazem Belawi, defended the crackdown, saying it was necessary in order to bring stability to the region. The nation will remain in a government-mandated state of martial law for at least another month, and Beblawi has authorized the military to use deadly force against protesters to protect themselves.
In the midst of the chaos, Muslim Brotherhood protesters stormed Cairo, burning government buildings, churches, and houses. Brotherhood supporters dispute the already-high death toll of 600, claiming that the toll is far higher.
Meanwhile the U.S. government is drawing the ire of international analysts, experts, and domestic reporters for refusing to call the military-led revolution a coup — a distinction which would require that the government scrap its $1.5 billion in annual aid.
While U.S. President Barack Obama said, “We don’t take sides with any particular party or political figure,” some, such as The Guardian’s Daniel Larison, argued, “The US may not be endorsing specific parties or individuals, but it is tacitly endorsing the coup and the government that was created by it.” The government did, however, cancel planned military drills with the Egyptian army.
The U.N. Security Council urged an end to the violence: “The view of council members is that it is important to end violence in Egypt and that the parties exercise maximum restraint.” The statement sends a strong signal to the region that the international community supports a peaceful end to the protest, but may prove unenforceable.
The Atlantic’s In Focus blog posted a thorough gallery of images from Egypt. Note: this gallery contains graphic and disturbing images.