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CONNECT THE WORLD
Egyptian Government Imposes Violent Crackdown On Protesters; Indian Submarine Sinks
Aired August 14, 2013 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are facing a massacre, or even a war of genocide.
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PAULA NEWTON, HOST: Bloodshed on the streets of Cairo as the military backed government imposes a month-long state of emergency. So what's next for Egypt? We have the latest from all sides of the political divide.
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JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Today's events are deplorable. And they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy.
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NEWTON: Strong words from the U.S., but how will today's events impact the wider Middle East region and how the ongoing political instability is hurting Egypt's already struggling economy.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.
NEWTON: Egypt's interim prime minister is offering reassurances that the country remains committed to democracy, that after the bloodiest day there has been since the revolution in 2011.
Security forces stormed two protest camps in Cairo today using guns, tear gas and batons to drive out supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy.
Government officials put the death toll at 211, but the Muslim Brotherhood says it is much higher than that.
Authorities have declared a month-long state of emergency as well as nightly curfews that are in effect right now. And that's for Cairo and other areas of Egypt.
They accuse the Brotherhood of attacking security forces who were trying to clear the camps, saying 43 police officers were killed.
Now interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi praised police saying that they, quote, used restraint. And he defended the operation.
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HAZEM AL-BEBLAWI, INTERIM EGYPTIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): In order for life to be respected, therefore, there was -- we were obliged that we have to take a position and to say the situation must stop after given the right opportunity which we have given. And we respected the feelings of these religious people of Egypt.
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NEWTON: Now, Morsy supporters, as you can imagine, have an entirely different account, calling what happened today a massacre of peaceful protesters. This video is said to show police firing their weapons in Cairo. The daughter of a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader was among those killed in the protest camps. Mohamed al-Baltagy says the bloodbath was orchestrated by Egypt's military chief.
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MOHAMED EL-BELTAGY, SENIOR MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD OFFICIAL (through translator): This massacre is part of a genocide. It is all very clear. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi knows the coup has failed and that his destiny is a criminal trial so he is seeking to involve the Egyptian army and the people in a civil war.
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NEWTON: The U.S. government says its massive yearly aid package to Egypt's military is, quote, "still under review."
Secretary of State John Kerry, though strongly condemned today's violence.
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KERRY: Today's events are deplorable. And they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy. Egyptians inside and outside of the government need to take a step back. They need to calm the situation and avoid further loss of life.
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NEWTON: Now violence broke out across Egypt after the attacks on the pro-Morsy camps in Cairo. All of the provinces you see here are now under curfew right now, including Alexandria, Ismaliya, and Suez.
Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city, saw some of the worst clashes. Police fired tear gas to clear riots by Morsy supporters.
Reuters News Agency says at least 10 people were killed. Egyptian officials say rioters in several cities have attacked and burned police stations, government buildings and Christian churches.
Now CNN's Reza Sayah was on the scene from the beginning of the clashes. And much earlier than that, Reza, you know, you've been warning us and you've been talking to the protesters. They say that they were prepared for this crackdown. At the same time, though, Reza put into perspective all that you saw today.
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's difficult to do, Paula. It's really difficult to describe to you the despair, the anguish the outrage, the bloodshed that we saw today. This was just an awful day. Many are describing it as a massacre. And I think the way things are unfolding, increasingly it's going to be tough to dispute that because of the staggering death toll.
We have new information to pass along to you. According to Egypt's emergency services, the new death toll, according to this interim government, now stands at 235 people killed. The Muslim Brotherhood, they have a higher death toll. Their death toll ranges from hundreds to thousands killed.
At this point, it's impossible for us to verify the number of fatalities, but you get an idea of the bloodbath that many people witnessed today. The bloodshed, the outcome of a ferocious crackdown launched by Egyptian security forces and this military-backed interim government that target two pro-Morsy sit-in demonstrations that had lasted for six weeks.
One of those demonstrations in al-Nahda in front of Cairo University. Security forces managed to clear that demonstration relatively, relatively easily.
The challenge came in east Cairo. Rabaa al-Adawiya. This sit-in demonstration was really the headquarters, the home base of the Muslim Brotherhood supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsy. That's where the highest death toll took place.
We're getting different accounts of exactly what happened.
The interior ministry claims that they used non-lethal force initially, that they moved in using water cannons and tear gas. They claim that protesters responded by firing weapons. And they said they were forced to fire back. And what we saw was a firefight that lasted at least 10 hours and the results were absolutely horrifying -- scores of people injured, scores of people killed.
We visited a makeshift hospital there and we were literally walking through the blood of the victims. We had to meander through the victims as volunteer doctors race to treat them.
And now we wait for the implications of what happened today, Paula. And the implications are going to be far reaching and they're going to be significant. And you're already seeing some of the impact with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Egyptian diplomat, the former interim vice president who earlier today, apparently as a direct result of the crackdown today, submitted his resignation, Paula.
NEWTON: You know, Reza, one thing we have to bring up -- I'm going to ask you two quick things. One is, is Cairo quiet right now? And can you please give us a sense of what ordinary Egyptians, who perhaps do not support this violence, but at the same time were not happy that the Muslim Brotherhood had so paralyzed the city and the country with this protest?
SAYAH: Yeah -- you know, first off at this hour Cairo is eerily calm and quiet. At this hour, when nightfall comes, this city is buzzing. Because of the curfew that's at place, because of the state of emergency that was declared by the interim government, there are very few cars on the street, very few pedestrians in the street.
As far as reaction from Egyptians, we can tell you that there were a lot of Egyptians who wanted these demonstrations to end. Mr. Morsy, with his government, with his one year in office, did not make many friends. And that -- you saw on June 30 when millions of people throughout Egypt came and demonstrated against him. They wanted these demonstrations, these sit-ins to end.
However, it's difficult to say if they're satisfied with today's outcome. You have to believe that Egyptians who care about this country, who care about stability moving forward, did not want to see this kind of wide violence, did not want to see this kind of death toll.
But again, the fallout from this is far from clear. We're going to find out what the reaction is from people and what the implications are for what happened today in the coming days and weeks, Paula.
NEWTON: OK, Reza Sayah, we appreciate this at the end of a very long and very dangerous day for you and everyone else on the streets of Cairo. Appreciate it Reza.
Now as you heard Reza say, Egypt's interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, has stepped down in protest over the deadly crackdown on Morsy supporters.
Now in a resignation letter he said there were peaceful alternatives. Now this is coming from someone who was a member of the interim government. He said that the loss of life could have been avoided.
ElBaradei also said, quote "the beneficiaries of what happened today are those who call for violence, terrorism and the most extreme groups. It has become difficult for me to continue bearing responsibility for decisions I do not agree with and whose consequences I fear."
Now I want to bring in for some perspective Omar Ashour. He's a senior lecturer in Middle East politics and security studies at the University of Exeter. And he joins me now live from London.
You know, Omar, it's difficult for me to not have the impression that Egypt has really stepped far back from where it was in 2011. You heard Reza talk about how, yes, people who were against the protests and the Muslim Brotherhood, they were fed up in Egypt with these protests. Many people were.
At the same time, when you see the ferocity, the violence today, where does Egypt go from here in terms of reconciling?
OMAR ASHOUR, EXETER UNIVERSITY: It's a very dangerous situation, Paula. You can definitely imagine that we are as far as possible from the slogans of the January 2011 revolution. The slogans are freedom, dignity, justice, and bread. And I think the violent polarization in the country wen to extreme levels. You know, today we saw basically one part of the country cheating the repression and even the mass murder of another part of the country.
And with these kind of scenarios, the country -- it undermines really the very social fabric of what makes Egypt when you -- in any place when you see an elected institution gets removed by force, and that elected institution has some support on the ground, usually the country heads in one of five directions. Either a civil war scenario, a civil unrest scenario, a military dictatorship scenario, or a military dictatorship with a civilian facade scenario, or a mix of all of the above.
And all of them are very far away from the democratic transitions that many Egyptians hoped for, and many Egyptians actually demonstrated and marched for in January 2011 and in the aftermath.
NEWTON: Yeah, so many hopes extinguished, really, today by a lot of sadness.
Omar Ashour, please stay with us. Stand by. We're going to continue to come to you throughout this hour.
But right now we are joined on the line by Ambassador Wafaa Bassim. Now she is Egypt's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva. And she's on the line for us.
Madam, you heard a lot of what's gone on today in Egypt. Two very different sides to this story. I have to ask you, do you believe that what the military and what the military and the government did today were justified and why?
WAFAA BASSIM, EGYPTIAN AMBASSADOR TO UN: The military and the government -- I wouldn't say the military, I would say more the security forces who had to intervene upon the request of the government today, because that sit-in has been going on for the last six weeks. And there were several attempts not only at the national level, but also at the international level, to -- I wouldn't say mediate, but to create a good ground for a dialog that would go between the government and the people, the different political factions of Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood or the group, the Islamists who were arranging this because they couldn't accept the people went out and denounced the regime led by former President Morsy.
NEWTON: But Ms. Bassim, in terms of the crackdown today, you heard even from Mr. ElBaradei, who was in the government, say look there were peaceful alternatives. Why wasn't there more restraint? Why was there so much blood on the streets of Cairo today?
BASSIM: Why there was? I can't hear you.
NEWTON: Why was there so much blood on the streets of Cairo today. Was there not a peaceful way to bring an end to these protests? Could you not give it more time?
BASSIM: I think the interventions for the sit-in started peacefully (inaudible) early this morning at Rabaa, but the -- those who were in (inaudible) couldn't accept that and started shooting at the security forces who went to the second degree. And the (inaudible) gas and the water cannons.
More violence came on the side of those who were sitting in and they started using the women and children as human shields...
NEWTON: Now, Ms. Bassim, the Muslim Brotherhood...
BASSIM: Giving them a way to have a safe exit from...
NEWTON: Ms. Bassim, the Muslim Brotherhood denies that, but I just want to ask you, you can't be happy about what happened today in Cairo in terms of the bloodshed. Does this not undermine any kind of path to democracy in Egypt right now?
BASSIM: Of course nobody is happy with the bloodshed of any Egyptian no matter what his line of thinking or his political affiliation or his religious affiliation and whether he's a political person or a security person, they are (inaudible) and we care about them very much.
And we are very unhappy to see all this bloodshed.
But we are hoping very much that this bloodshed doesn't continue and the government has committed again this evening itself to continue to roadmap is has chosen, which means an amended constitution that responds to the wishes of all the people and the different nuances of the country, a political dialog that will be all-inclusive including the Muslim Brotherhood and finally the elections that should take place once...
NEWTON: Ms. Bassim, we're going to have to leave it there, Ms. Bassim -- Mr. Bassim, we are going to have to leave it there, but I do appreciate you joining us. And we welcome any voice from your government that wants to come on to CNN and speak. We appreciate you joining us this evening.
This is Connect the World. Still to come this hour, we'll continue to bring you the latest on Egypt from both sides of the political divide.
And searching for answers after a deadly submarine blast in India.
NEWTON: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me, Paula Newton. Welcome back.
More than 235 people have now been reported killed, and that is according to the health ministry. They are being quoted now on Nile TV, state TV there in Egypt. And now a nationwide curfew has been imposed and is currently in effect not just in Cairo, but throughout Egypt.
It has been, to say the least, a very dramatic day in Egypt. We want to get reaction from today's events from both sides of the political divide.
Khaled Dawoud is a spokesperson for the National Salvation Front, that is a group consisting of parties opposed to former President Morsy. And he joins me now from Cairo. And from London, I'm joined by Mona al-Qazzaz, spokesperson from the Muslim Brotherhood.
I want to thank both of you for being here. It's been difficult for everyone to digest the events of today, but I want to turn this Ms. Al- Qazzaz first to you. Many people were wondering -- and there have been accusations from the government saying that the protesters were, in fact, armed, that they were provoking the security forces in some way. What do you say about those reports?
MONA AL-QAZZAZ, MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SPOKESWOMAN: Egypt has witnessed today one of the worst -- the worst state-led massacre in the modern history of Egypt. We've seen unilateral excessive violence from the politi -- from the military junta and its civilian faces. We've seen the Ministry of Interior, we've seen live bullets shot at peaceful, innocent civilians practicing -- exercising their legitimate right of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
I bring to you (inaudible) of Mohamed (inaudible) who is -- who captured his own death using his own camera lens and was documented by CNN. His fiancee today was killed with her mother. Today, these are two people, alongside 1,000 -- 2,000 other people who were shot in cold blood today in Egypt.
The international community should stand together against this severe violation of human rights.
NEWTON: Do you say, though -- are you denying that the protesters were armed, that they confronted the security forces?
AL-QAZZAZ: The protesters have been peaceful. For the past 47 days, the sit-in has been peaceful under the scrutiny of international media outlets. We have been peaceful. And we are always peaceful. And we will stand in our peaceful -- with our peace -- our peacefulness is a strategic and is a moral obligation for us.
The only way out for Egypt is through democracy. And the only way to democracy is our peacefulness. Our peacefulness is our strongest weapon.
We will not go to the -- we will not respond to the baseless accusations for the authorities who are known to fabricate evidence and fabric news on state TV.
NEWTON: Mr. Dawoud, I have to ask you, was there not a more peaceful way to do this? Mohamed ElBaradei himself said there were peaceful alternatives. Why weren't those used. Why wasn't there more restraint shown? Why so much bloodshed on the streets of Cairo today?
KHALED DAWOUD, SPOKESMAN, NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT: Well, allow me, first of all, to confirm that this is a very tragic day in the history of Egypt, yet in a matter of a month, probably we're seeing scores of people who are getting killed.
And with all due respect to my colleague Mona speaking from London, I don't think any news outlet or any source has mentioned the figure of 2,000 people getting killed. I think this is another example of how the Brotherhood are seeking to exaggerate the situation whether by claiming that they have been peaceful, or whether they are claiming that they have been practicing their simple right to protest.
I mean, the highest figure I heard from some Muslim Brotherhood leaders, Dr. Mohamed Al-Beltagy, about two hours ago was nearly 300 people who were killed, which is a tremendous number. I think you referred to a figure by the health ministry, around 235. So I don't think it's in anybody's interest to keep on portraying an image that's not right.
I'd also like to remind you that during this bloody day, very bloody day, we also had, according to the interior ministry at least 43 officers and soldiers who were killed, including 18 officers. We had 21 police stations that were stormed. In one of those police stations, two senior officers were killed and their bodies were mutilated.
We had seven churches in the cities of Beniswaif (ph) and in Sohag (ph) and in many others were looted and burned by alleged supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood group.
So unfortunately, this repeated claim that the Brotherhood are peaceful is totally false. In my view, they were not protesting or holding their sit-in in the middle of the desert, it was in the middle of a very, very residential area, Naser City, and in front of the main entrance of Cairo University that's used by tens of thousands of students.
So nobody really goes to the main street in Washington and London or in Paris and say we're going to have tents, we're going to have barricades. They had cement walls. They had sandbags. They even started saying they're going to dig their own wells to bring in water.
I mean, this is really ridiculous. I think the government has waited for almost 48 days, as she mentioned. They go into daily protests. They tried to storm ministries. They clash with other citizens. I think that this request -- and with all due respect to Dr. ElBaradei's resignation, this was becoming a popular request that people need their lives to move on. Our life was at a standstill. I cannot move anywhere in Cairo. Nobody can move. I mean, every day...
NEWTON: Mr. Dawoud, I'm just going to let Ms. Al-Qazzaz respond to some of what you've said.
AL-QAZZAZ: The reports have mentioned 2,600 actually bodies were reported from the makeshift hospital in Rabaa Square that was burned an hour ago by the military junta. And it is civilian lackeys that are justified...
DAWOUD: They've denied...
AL-QAZZAZ: ...justifying the unilateral killing that has been happening in Egypt. I do not see the justification for killing of one innocent Egyptian person. We've seen hundreds of Egyptians killed ever since, in a consistent matter, ever since the military coup was orchestrated led by the National Salvation Front my opponent is presenting.
We actually see violations of human rights, a massacre after another, and with specific targeting to women.
The tents today were women and children were taking refuge were burned...
DAWOUD: This is ridiculous.
AL-QAZZAZ: ...with the children. And I have lost -- I personally lost two friends tonight. One of them was burned alive in al-Nahda Square today. I am not giving delusional -- delusional claims as my opponent is actually saying.
What I am saying is that there are bodies, there are pictures, it is actually 2013. The whole world is capable of seeing the massacre that is happening from one side, which is the military junta, and its civilian lackeys.
I just want to add in another point, why are the (inaudible) being targeted? Why is the (inaudible) news cameraman targeted? Why are three other news reporters shot today.
We are seeing the military junta and its cheerleaders, they don't want -- just let me add this -- they don't want -- they don't want the documentation, they don't want the international world to know what is happening in Egypt. They are targeting cameramen, either -- for international media or for local media. They're cut -- they are imprisoning Al Jazeera and also...
NEWTON: Ms. Al-Qazzaz, I'm happy about the -- we're gratified that we're having a fulsome debate tonight. I'm happy to say that both of you will be back.
Mr. Dawoud, I want to give you a really quick reply to this. And then we'll come back to both of you in just a few minutes.
DAWOUD: Very quickly -- yes, Paula. I mean, when you were talking to the ambassador awhile ago, she was mentioning how they were abusing children. There were repeated calls for the leaders of Rabaa to let the children go. This morning, I was very sorry, I couldn't believe my eyes when some women were portraying their newborn babies in front of the cameras in the middle of tear gas.
As well, I call my friend Mona not to forget that millions of Egyptians came out on June 30 demanding that former President Morsy has to go. So unfortunately we had to move on. I am very sorry. I wish there were very other -- or there were other peaceful means like Dr. ElBaradei mentioned in his resignation letter, but I'm really worried about the future of this country. I'm worried about how the Brotherhood will take this further in more attack, unfortunately.
NEWTON: I'm going to leave it there for now, but I'm happy to say we will be back to both of you shortly. So please stay with Connect the World. Both of you please stand by for me.
We are live from CNN Center. This is Connect the World. And coming up, we're just going to turn to some other news. A deadly explosion and fire on a submarine in India. We will have the latest on the investigation into what sank the sub in its dock.
NEWTON: You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. Welcome back. I'm Paula Newton.
We will, of course, continue to keep you up-to-date on developments in Egypt. But for now, we do want to turn to some other news. As many as 18 sailors are feared dead after an explosion and fire aboard an Indian submarine.
Now the submarine has just undergone a two year upgrade following an incident in 2010 involving a defective battery.
Now it's still unclear what caused the blast. An investigation is underway. Mallika Kapur has more on this story.
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Explosions light up the night sky off the coast of Mumbai as a deadly fire erupts on the Indian submarine Sindorakshak (ph), Hindi for protector of the ocean.
Inside the submarine, 18 sailors were trapped.
UDAY BHASKAR, DEFENSE ANALYST: The Sindorakshak (ph) today is perhaps one of the worst accidents that the Indian navy submarine (inaudible) has ever had.
KAPUR: It took firefighters several hours to control the blaze, which badly damaged the submarine. Only a part of it can be seen.
Navy divers are continuing their search for survivors. But on land, the Indian defense minister fears the worst.
ARACKAPARAMBIL ANTONY, INDIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: This (inaudible) to all of us (inaudible). I feel sad about that. I feel sad about also those (inaudible) lost their life in (inaudible) of the country.
KAPUR: He did not say how many sailors died.
The Sindorakshak (ph) is a diesel powered vessel, said to be one of India's frontline submarines. It was upgraded in Russia last year.
(on camera): The damaged submarine is behind these gates. This is a massive loss for India and a huge setback for its navy, which recently celebrated two very important developments.
KAPUR (voice-over): Last week, it unveiled its first locally-built aircraft carrier and said the reactor on the country's first home-built nuclear submarine is now operational.
BHASKAR: Over the last few days, as I said, there was a lot of satisfaction and pride in the country that those these were modest steps, launching an aircraft carrier is a big deal for a country that ten years ago was not even making a scooter, forget about a car. So, in that sense, it was a reflection of India's techno-industrial competence.
KAPUR: What caused the explosion is unclear.
DEVENDRA JOSHI, CHIEF OF STAFF, INDIAN NAVY: There was explosives and ammunition onboard, obviously. There is fuel. Onboard a submarine, there is also oxygen bottles. There are battery packs, which at times, may exude certain portions of hydrogen. Any combination of any of these malfunctioning could have resulted in the incident of the fire.
KAPUR: The navy says it has ordered an investigation to find out what went wrong.
Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.
NEWTON: Now, the latest world news headlines are just ahead, plus we take a look at what today's events in Egypt mean for the future of the Muslim Brotherhood.
NEWTON: Live from CNN Center, this is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. Egyptian state TV now says 235 civilians have been killed in clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsy. The interior minister says an additional 43 police officers have been killed.
Now, the violence began when police moved to clear two pro-Morsy camps in Cairo. The Muslim Brotherhood calls it a massacre. We'll get a live update from Cairo in just a moment.
Celebrations in Ramallah as Palestinian prisoners released by Israel are embraced by families and friends. Direct peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis have now resumed three years after they broke down over settlement new construction.
Police in South Africa say they've completed their murder investigation into Oscar Pistorius. The Olympic sprinter is due in court Monday, when prosecutors and defense attorneys will try to agree on a trial date. He was arrested in February for shooting and killing his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.
The man at the center of the largest leak of classified information in US history spoke briefly at his sentencing hearing. US soldier Bradley Manning said he was sorry his actions hurt people and hurt the United States. He now faces up to 90 years in prison.
North and South Korea have agreed to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Now, in April, the North shut down the joint manufacturing zone as tension between the countries heated up. Now, as part of their new agreement, the two countries say they will allow political situations -- they will not allow, pardon me, political situations to affect Kaesong's operation.
Live from CNN Center, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Now, straight to our top story this hour, Egypt's bloodiest day since its revolution two years ago.
State TV -- we want to cross over, now, to CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon. Arwa, a long day for you in the streets. In terms of what is going on at this moment in Cairo, can you set the scene for us?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that curfew is well underway. It's quite eerie just how deserted the streets are given how Cairo is effectively defined by the bustle of its traffic and of its population.
It was an incredibly intense day. We saw the clashes growing and spreading, the intensity of them increasing as the day wore on. The security forces not just having to deal with clearing out those two main sit-in areas, but other multiple front lines that opened throughout the capital.
Pro-Morsy demonstrators were trying to reach the main sit-in area, they were trying to break through the ranks of the riot police, there were a number of clashes in those cases. And then, we also saw pro-Morsy demonstrators trying to conduct other marches and take over another square in Cairo and effectively start yet another sit-in.
They even have a field hospital already established there that they say treated hundreds of people, most of them with gunshot wounds. They have a stage that has been set up as well.
A lot of fear, a lot of concern that this is only going to continue, given that these pro-Morsy demonstrators are refusing to clear the streets, they're refusing to back down. The government, now, taking this action.
And it's not just an issue of security forces clashing with these demonstrators, you also have residents in some areas who are clashing with Morsy supporters as well.
NEWTON: OK, Arwa, thanks for that. We want to go now to just some video that is just coming to us from CNN. It is dramatic video of what unfolded today. Let's just take a look, now, for a moment here.
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DAMON: -- security forces trying to clear those pro-Mohamed Morsy camps.
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NEWTON: The stories from our reporters and from others who were on the streets of Cairo today, a devastating day for many there.
Now, the violence in Egypt is, of course, just the latest chapter in a story that began two and a half years ago with the Egyptian revolution. Becky Anderson now reminds us of how the ongoing turmoil in the country has unfolded.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): January the 25th, 2011. The Arab Spring spreads to Egypt with a Day of Rage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom! And we're going to take our freedom!
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATONAL CORRESPONDENT: We saw something I've never seen before, a phalanx of men on horseback and on camels, and they charged through from the pro-regime side directly into the opposition.
ANDERSON: After 18 days of violence, celebrations as it was announced President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule had come to an end.
OMAR SULEIMAN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF EGYPT (through translator): President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as president of Egypt.
ANDERSON: The military assumed control of the country, and Egyptians began to vote on their future. Within a month, they'd overwhelmingly approved a referendum to amend the constitution limiting presidential terms to four years.
In November, parliamentary elections were held with Islamist parties ultimately winning about 70 percent of seats.
Next came the historic presidential election. It was held in May 2012, and the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsy was finally declared the first freely-elected president on June the 24th.
But with in six months, Egyptians were once again back on the streets after their new leader issued an order preventing courts from overturning his decisions. President Morsy later reversed his decree, but the damage was done, with his opponents accusing him of betraying the Egyptian people.
ANDERSON: Amid the political instability, the country's economic situation also worsened, and opposition voices grew louder, culminating in mass protests on June 30th this year, the first anniversary of President Morsy's win in the election.
ANDERSON: Their calls for a snap presidential election won the support of the military which, three days later, ousted Morsy from power. But supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood leader have defiantly remained on the streets in protest, demanding he be reinstated.
WATSON: And now, some of his supporters are talking about the possibility of war.
ANDERSON: After six weeks of ongoing unrest, Egyptian security forces have now moved in on the makeshift camps of pro-Morsy protesters, the crackdown resulting in more bloodshed in a country still battling for political and economic stability two and a half years since it first rose up demanding democracy.
Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
NEWTON: So, how much has today's crackdown weakened the Muslim Brotherhood? To discuss, I want to bring back our guests. Spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood is Mona al-Qazzaz, she's in London. And in Cairo, Khaled Dawoud, who represents the anti-Morsy coalition, the National Salvation Front.
And Mr. Dawoud, I'm going to do something unorthodox here. I'm going to ask you about the future of the Muslim Brotherhood. They were shut out for more than three decades of the Mubarak regime.
They represent a significant minority, Mr. Dawoud, of the Egyptian population. They did win a democratic election, there, Mr. Dawoud. How do you come back from this now and reconcile those significant political forces of the Muslim Brotherhood after the incidents of today?
KHALED DAWOUD, SPOKESMAN, NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT: Well, Paula, let me explain that from day one, from July 3rd when the national forces met with the defense ministry and they issued the road map, the Muslim Brotherhood have been invited to join that road map and agree on a new constitution for this country instead of the constitution that they wrote on their own.
When the new cabinet was being formed, they were offered some cabinet positions, they turned that down. The -- all the world dignitaries, from the United States, from Europe, from the African Union, from all of the world, from Qatar, UAE, they came here to Egypt.
The Egyptian government opened the door for them to meet with Muslim Brotherhood leaders to convince them to move on, to recognize that there is a serious danger for the future of the group itself it continues to use violence only as the only means to express its positions and this kind of sit-in --
MONA AL-QAZZAZ, SPOKESWOMAN, THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD: I may disagree, please.
DAWOUD: -- that again have nothing to do --
QAZZAZ: I may disagree, please.
DAWOUD: -- with a peaceful demonstration by any chance. So, we still hold --
QAZZAZ: If I may interject, please.
DAWOUD: -- that on the longterm, the Muslim Brotherhood --
NEWTON: Miss al-Qazzaz -- Miss al-Qazzaz --
DAWOUD: -- will agree to take part --
NEWTON: Mr. Dawoud, just let Miss al-Qazzaz jump in here.
QAZZAZ: So, the military juntas --
DAWOUD: Please. I'm sorry, I wasn't sure.
QAZZAZ: -- should be your guest on the other side, the military junta, actually. He seems to be justifying the consistent murder and the consistent violation of human rights and the consistent massacres committed ever since the military coup was orchestrated.
As described by the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, there's a criminal disregard for the sanctity of human lives. We are seeing justification on the other camp for the loss of innocent, peaceful civilians who have chosen their democratic rights.
We are -- over the past two years, we have seen consistent --
DAWOUD: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It's not a democratic right --
QAZZAZ: -- winners and consistent losers in the democratic process --
DAWOUD: -- to block a residential areas for 48 days.
QAZZAZ: -- in the consistent -- now the winners are now --
DAWOUD: This is not -- you cannot do this where you are in London. You cannot occupy London's street --
QAZZAZ: -- are now in prison, and the consistent losers are --
NEWTON: I'm sorry, Miss al-Qazzaz, I'll let you finish. Mr. Dawoud, we'll get back to you. Miss al-Qazzaz, just finish up.
QAZZAZ: Consistent winners and consistent losers, the winners now are behind the bars, are in prison, and the losers now came on the back of the tanks as leaders. Those losers are now leading the country to where it's continuous instability. They are killing the biggest democracy in the Middle East.
Egypt was going forwards towards democratic institutions, over five rounds of democratic voting actually happened here. What we're seeing today, after this military coup, a crime against humanity.
The civilian -- the military junta and its civilian lackeys have been justifying this criminal disregard of human life. We're seeing violations of human rights. We're seeing a massacre after another. I cannot believe that my opponent here is actually debating the sanctity of human life.
NEWTON: Mr. Dawoud, how do you recover this? We're talking about a path to democracy that seems to be what everyone wants. What is that path now, in light of what happened today?
DAWOUD: Well -- listen, Paula, I was very much ready to listen to this lengthy lecture about democracy from a supporter of a president who violated every single rule of democracy in the short year he stayed in power.
Only three or four months after he came into office, he issued a ridiculous constitutional declaration that gave himself exceptional powers to issue whatever decrees he wanted, to write the constitution on his own, to appoint a prosecutor general who harasses and suppresses his own opponents.
There were many young people who were also killed under former President Morsy in front of the presidential palace in December. No one was held accountable for that at all --
QAZZAZ: We're talking about thousands!
DAWOUD: Again, this is ridiculous to claim that there is a peaceful sit-in, that there is -- I think, Mona, I've heard tremendously, I didn't interrupt at all. So, let the world hear the other side of a group that knows nothing about democracy, that depends on --
QAZZAZ: To the others -- to the world that can actually see with their own eyes --
DAWOUD: -- pure loyalty to the supreme guide -- to the supreme guide of the supreme --
QAZZAZ: -- the blood that has been shed today. They're seeing the violations of human -- we're seeing --
DAWOUD: Well, you can keep on interrupting. You know, listen! These are --
QAZZAZ: -- the blood, this is actually what the world is seeing today.
DAWOUD: Listen, you don't respect --
QAZZAZ: Why would I listen to someone who --
DAWOUD: -- as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood group --
QAZZAZ: -- bypassed every singe democratic --
DAWOUD: -- you're not even allowed to go --
NEWTON: Mr. Dawoud -- Mr. Dawoud -- please let Mr. Dawoud finish, and then we will get to --
DAWOUD: Ms. Paula, please protect me. Please protect me, Paula, and let me express my --
QAZZAZ: You came on the back of the tanks. You failed in democracy, and you came in on the back of the tanks, and this is what we see. You know a tree by its fruit and you know a group by the massacres that are committed after a military coup. We're seeing a military coup, we're seeing an appointed committee writing a constitution that --
NEWTON: OK. But Miss -- Miss al-Qazzaz --
QAZZAZ: -- if you sit on the committee --
NEWTON: -- Miss al-Qazzaz, let me interrupt --
QAZZAZ: -- by a democratic voting --
NEWTON: -- let me interrupt her, Miss al-Qazzaz, because I want to say that we have had reports of the attacks from the Muslim Brotherhood on the Christian churches. In terms of the responsibility that the Muslim Brotherhood bears on trying to get out of martial law and trying to get back on a path of democracy, Miss al-Qazzaz, what is the Muslim Brotherhood's plan for that?
DAWOUD: Can I speak for 30 seconds?
NEWTON: How at this point -- what do you want them to do to engage? Miss al-Qazzaz?
DAWOUD: Can I --
QAZZAZ: So, the only way out --
DAWOUD: Paula. Paula, can I speak for 30 seconds?
QAZZAZ: -- is through democratic process. It is not through the use of bullets and -- sorry, I can't hear you really clearly. But the only way out is through a democratic, peaceful process. It is not through the bullets and the tanks.
NEWTON: OK, but I was asking about the attacks on the Christian churches --
QAZZAZ: What we're actually seeing is actually the responsibility --
NEWTON: -- there were reports that the Muslim Brotherhood had attacked the Christian churches today. That certainly doesn't add to --
QAZZAZ: I completely -- I refute those reports.
DAWOUD: They insult the pope.
QAZZAZ: Those reports are baseless. We are --
DAWOUD: They insult the pope on a daily basis. They have no respect for any religious authority --
QAZZAZ: -- it's the responsibility of the people in charge now to protect all the Egyptian civilians --
DAWOUD: -- in Egypt.
QAZZAZ: -- and it is -- we hold them responsible for all the innocent blood that has been shed, whether it's the Muslim, it's the Christian, it's the Coptic, everyone, it is the responsibility --
NEWTON: OK, Miss al-Qazzaz, I'm going to go to Mr. Dawoud --
QAZZAZ: -- of the military junta --
NEWTON: -- I don't want this to -- I want to go to Mr. Dawoud. I don't want this to degenerate to name-calling. What everyone wants to hear is how Egypt can pull itself out of this. Mr. Dawoud, you represent a coalition, a vast and desperate coalition.
What is the pathway here? Because right now, the United States doesn't see it. The European Union doesn't see it. No one from Egypt is articulating exactly how we're going to get there after this kind of bloodshed and all the acrimony that has come before.
DAWOUD: Well, I really wish that you would allow me to speak without the other side interrupting me. I don't think I've had any chance to speak.
NEWTON: Please, Mr. Dawoud, go ahead. Please go ahead.
DAWOUD: I want to stress to my opponent in London that -- of course. Thank you. Thank you very much. We did not come -- or the new government did not come on top of a tank, as she claims. There were about at least 15 to 20 million people who came out on June 30 to express their views and to say that the former president was a failed president --
QAZZAZ: Every -- the world has disputed this number. This number is --
DAWOUD: -- who had to go. The Muslim Brotherhood have no --
NEWTON: Miss al-Qazzaz, if you could just let Mr. Dawoud finish.
DAWOUD: -- record of -- listen! Listen! Listen! Listen! Please! Have some democracy and let me finish! You were just repeating the word "democracy" 500 times in a row.
Again, the Muslim Brotherhood did not respect any rule for democracy in the year that they have spent in the office. They came out with some laws against the judiciary, against human rights groups, against freedom of expression that pushed the majority of the Egyptian people to come out and to say that we need a new government.
We tried to convince the Muslim Brotherhood to move on and to have a new election. They refused to have that new election.
And now, we're seeing them taking advantage of the whole country by attacking police officers, by attacking police stations, prisons, by attacking churches, as you have mentioned, by insisting on exaggerating the numbers and trying to show that they are subject to the worst massacre in the world's history, and that's not the case.
We want those who are responsible for today's violence to be held accountable, but the Muslim Brotherhood also has to be held accountable for continuous incitement, for claiming that they are the only ones who speak in the name of religion, for promising their young followers they're going to go to heaven and get 72 virgins. That's not the way to put the story --
NEWTON: OK --
DAWOUD: -- and this country is not going to witness a religious war - -
NEWTON: OK, Mr. Dawoud --
DAWOUD: -- we are seeking our own democratic values, and we want to live a true democracy.
NEWTON: Mr. Dawoud, Miss al-Qazzaz, I thank you so much for being here. I hope that what we have heard this evening that both of you and the parties you represent will begin to forge some type of reconciliation. I think there's been a lot of blood spilled on both sides --
QAZZAZ: I think it's very important --
NEWTON: -- and we hope the elements of this debate will find their way forward in some positive way. We invite you back here anytime to continue the debate. Appreciate your time.
QAZZAZ: The only positive way is to --
NEWTON: Now, coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, after today's events, what's next for Egypt? We'll discuss the possibilities in just a few moments.
NEWTON: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD, live from CNN Center. I'm Paula Newton.
Well, it's time now to go back to Omar Ashour, who's in London, and we're going to get his thoughts about the future of Egypt after today's events. I'm sure you were listening in on that debate that we just had. It really -- it just touches the surface of the acrimony and a lot of the bitter hatred going on on the streets of Egypt tonight, and that has happened in the years before.
What is the path, here, to something that resembles, though, a democracy? Because at the end of the day, we are getting so far away from a democratically-elected government. We are now, essentially, back in martial law in Egypt.
OMAR ASHOUR, EXETER UNIVERSITY: Yes. You got a feel of the situation, the level of the polarization in Egypt. Just imagine one side of the speakers had an AK-47 and the other was unarmed, and you can pretty much figured out what happened to day in Rabba.
I think the boiling polarization has been multiplied. From the beginning, the democracy and elections are divisive. The idea of 99 percent, pretty much the official you had has a guest represented, 99 percent support of the government, and then there is this deviant 1 percent that does not represent anybody.
That idea has to be shattered. This is the Mubarak, Gadaffi, Bashar al-Assad legacy in the Middle East, that the government has to be supported overwhelmingly, and whoever opposes it is a deviant.
And this was shattered by the democratic process in Egypt, only 51 percent of a president who was a very polarizing figure, 13 million people voted for him, 12 million people voted against him. Any of the two, if they gathered 1 percent of their camp, the 13 million or the 12 million, will fill any square immediately.
But the thing is, now you have one part trying to exclude the other part, and this is what's -- it's not democratic in any way. In democracies, the winners respect -- try to contain the polarization and respect the minorities' rights, and the loser accepts his loss, not tries to jump on power and exclude the other by using arms and tanks and politicize the army.
NEWTON: But Mr. Ashour --
ASHOUR: The other problem is --
NEWTON: Go ahead.
ASHOUR: No, the other problem is that the army in Egypt -- this has been a debate in Egypt since 1954, since the first, actually, Egyptian president was deposed by an army faction. He was from the army, he staged a coup, but he was deposed by an army faction.
And the Muslim Brothers back then in 54 were supporting him, Mohammed Naguib, General Mohammed Naguib. And back then, it was established that the armed institutions of the state are above the elected institutions, are above any other civilian institution.
That idea and that very concept that was there for almost six decades was very much challenged after January 2011, after the removal of the SCAF, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and handing it over to a civilian elected president.
But now, this whole concept, the armed institution is now being above any other institution, appoints a civilian elected. You can see the camp that was anti-Morsy is not really -- is not a cohesive camp. You have the hawks there and you have the doves there.
And one of the doves, today, tried to -- handed over his resignation, that tells you the balance of power within that coalition is for the hawks. And the hawks, by that, I mean the army, which is very powerful, followed by the Ministry of Interior and its generals, followed by the loyalists of the Mubarak regime, the ones that have the wealth --
ASHOUR: -- the media. And then followed at the very end by the revolutionaries who joined that camp and wanted to change Egypt for the better for a democracy, but find themselves the weaker side in this coalition, and the side that will always be belittled because they don't have the arms, they don't have the wealth, they don't have the state institutions --
NEWTON: The Muslim -- the Muslim Brotherhood, again from the outside looking in. It'll be interesting to see if that faction, really, if they can reconcile anything in the coming days, weeks, months even.
Mr. Ashour, I'm sure we'll hear from you again. I appreciate your time today and you're perspective.
ASHOUR: Thank you.
NEWTON: Now, it's been another day of extraordinary scenes in Egypt, but what's been happening in Cairo today is just the latest of an ongoing portrait of unrest. You've been watching CONNECT THE WORLD, live from CNN Center. In tonight's Parting Shots, we leave you with some of the most iconic and sad images to come out of the country since the initial uprising back in January 2011.