At least 65 people who were expressing support for ousted president Mohamed Morsi were killed Saturday in Egypt, according to the Health Ministry. The real number seems to be much higher. Doctors put the death toll at more than 100, according to BBC News. And a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood tells Reuters that 66 people were killed and 61 were “brain dead” as a result of the clashes. Exact numbers aside, it was undoubtedly the deadliest bout of violence since the military ousted Morsi, points out the Associated Press. And it marked the second mass killing of pro-Morsi supporters in three weeks (60 were killed on July 8), illustrating how Egypt’s security officials “felt no need to show any restraint,” points out the New York Times.
Egypt’s interior ministry quickly absolved security forces of any responsibility saying they only used tear gas to try to disperse protesters. But doctors say some 70 percent of the casualties were caused by live fire, points out the BBC. “They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill,” a Brotherhood spokesman tells Reuters. “The bullet wounds are in the head and chest.”
The violence on Saturday broke out shortly after interim President Adly Mansour warned security forces would break up demonstrations and sit-ins that were being carried out by Morsi supporters, points out the Washington Post. And it also came a day after millions of Egyptians took to the streets Friday to express their support for the military. Now the killings will only continue to take the Arab world’s most populous country deeper into conflict as Brotherhood activists insist they will not abandon protests no matter how violent they get. “We will stay here until we die, one by one,” a Brotherhood supporter tells Reuters. “We have the examples of Algeria and Syria in our minds. We don’t want it to become a civil war. If we take up arms it might become one. This is a religious belief.”