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Nation/World

October 7, 2013

Egypt: 51 killed in new bout of street violence

(Continued)

“At the time when festivities are arranged for one section of the population, they call on Egyptians to dance on the dead bodies of their compatriots who oppose the coup,” it said, calling for a rally in Tahrir Square on Friday.

The scene of yesterday’s fighting in Cairo contrasted sharply with a carnival-like mood in the city’s central Tahrir Square, where thousands of supporters of the military waved Egyptian flags, blew whistles and touted posters of el-Sissi. Adding to the festivities, a military band in green jackets and off-white pants played, and men spun in whirling dervish-style dances.

Demonstrators distributed petitions demanding that el-Sissi run for president.

“We cannot find a man who can run the country at this stage except for him (el-Sissi),” said aspiring actress Wafaa el-Sharqawi, who was distributing the el-Sissi petition in Tahrir. “Can we possibly have a civilian president who is weaker than his defense minister?”

Soldiers barricaded entrances to central Tahrir Square with barbed wire and armored personnel vehicles to guard it against possible attempts by Morsi supporters to enter the plaza, Egypt’s most prominent political stage since it was the epicenter of the anti-Mubarak uprising nearly three years ago.

Metal detectors were installed at the entrances and demonstrators pouring into the square were searched by troops. Army helicopters flew low over the square, with Egypt’s red, white and black flag trailing. Some two dozen F-16 jet-fighters staged a celebratory flight over Cairo in late morning, ushering in the commemoration of the 1973 war.

At 2 p.m. — the time the war began in 1973 — church bells tolled and chants of “Allahu akbar,” or “God is greatest,” blared from mosques in parts of Cairo.

Still, not all in the square were enthused about the military.

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