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More Violence Feared In Cairo; Hundreds Barricaded In Mosque

NPR icon by L. Carol Ritchie
A A
Ed Giles

More violence is expected today in Egypt as supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi promised to defy a state of emergency and hold more protests.

And at a mosque near Cairo's Ramses Square, site of violent rallies Friday, about 700 people have barricaded themselves inside, refusing to come out for fear of arrest and further violence, Al Jazeera is reporting. Police and military forces have surrounded the area and the situation is tense, according to reports.

Live television pictures show security forces in riot gear outside the Fateh Mosque.

CNN puts the number inside the mosque at 1,000, including women and children. At daybreak today, military forces entered the mosque and spoke to protesters, and state-run news service EGYNews reported that officials offered safe passage for those inside. However, a doctor inside the mosque told CNN that protesters believe "thugs" outside would attack, despite the promises.

The mosque served as a hospital and morgue during clashes on Ramses Square over the past three days of protests, during which military forces were authorized to fire live ammunition at the crowds. Friday's "day of rage" fighting was among the fiercest of the week, with more than 80 killed, according to the Associated Press. More than 700 were killed over the past week.

Egyptian authorities arrested 1,004 Muslim Brotherhood "elements" Friday, the interior ministry said.

The Muslim Brotherhood has called for a week of rallies against Morsi's ouster.

Meanwhile, groups that support the military government are calling for counter-demonstrations today, the BBC said.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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