CAIRO, Qahirah,Â Aug 15, 2013Â (AFP)
Umm Abdallah sat silently praying overÂ the body of her husband, killed in a bloody police crackdown on supporters ofÂ ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, before collapsing into broken sobs.
The corpse wrapped in a white shroud with his name “Mohsen Radi”Â handwritten in thick black marker lay on the ground of the makeshift morgue atÂ the Iman mosque, a few kilometres from the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest site whereÂ over 200 people were killed.
His body lay squeezed between more than a dozen others, dark stains ofÂ blood had seeped through the white fabric of the shroud.
“My husband was 48 years old, he’s gone and I now have five children toÂ look after,” said Umm Abdallah, crying under her full-face veil.
Stroking her shoulder, her daughter tried to offer words of comfort.
“We will not let his blood go in vain. We will continue doing what we areÂ doing. If one of us dies, another is born in his place,” she said.
Koranic verses and prayers played from loudspeakers inside the mosque, asÂ one man sprayed the bodies with disinfectant.
Â Another veiled woman waved sticks of incense over the bodies to alleviateÂ the stench, as another man placed large cubes of ice on the corpses.
Said Khaled Abdel Nour, 32, points to one body. “This is my wife’s brother.
He died at the age of 22, trying to protect the bodies from being set alightÂ by the security forces.”
“I am happy to sit here between these people, who will go straight toÂ paradise. Their blood will be a curse on Sisi and his soldiers,” he said ofÂ army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who orchestrated Morsi’sÂ July 3Â ouster.
Morsi supporters had been on the streets for over five weeks to protest theÂ military’s ouster of Egypt’s first elected president.
Outside the mosque, dozens of relatives of the victims chanted “There is noÂ god but God” as each body was brought out of the mosque in a wooden coffin,Â ready to be buried.
The police crackdown which beganÂ on WednesdayÂ morning left behind it aÂ trail of blood and destruction.
Aerial footage showed the large avenues around Rabaa al-Adawiya mosqueÂ streets turned into rivers of fire.
ByÂ ThursdayÂ afternoon, cleaners were working to remove the debris from theÂ site of protest camp and army troops set-up checkpoints in the area.
Charred trees stood hauntingly over scraps of metal strewn between burntÂ shoes, tins of food and others items left behind after the clashes.
Four bulldozers worked to remove rubble, metres from the mosque, whoseÂ smouldering walls only two days earlier provided refuge to senior leaders ofÂ the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement from which Morsi emerged.
In the area, residents said the tensions and paralysis caused by theÂ protest had made life intolerable for them.
The dispersal “had to happen. There was no other way,” said Omar Hamdi, 23.
“The people here couldn’t live and what happened was inevitable,” he toldÂ AFP.
But Ali Abdul Haq, 57, said the methods used were a mistake.
“It was a shame. They should have used their wisdom,” said Abdul Haq, as heÂ and his wife stepped over shards of broken glass.
“People chose a president and voted for him. How can throwing away theirÂ votes be that simple?” he asked.
Metres away, passersby snapped picturers on their mobile phones ofÂ overturned cars and security vehicles while residents of the area’sÂ residential towers watched from their balconies.
One of them, 73-year-old Samira Zarei, said the protest camp had left herÂ terrified.
“I was so afraid of them storming houses. We heard shooting, I couldn’t goÂ out. I just sat at home with my brother’s wife,” she told AFP.
She slammed the Muslim Brotherhood protesters as “traitors” and said sheÂ was relieved the demonstrations were over.
But the whole episode, she said, painted a gloomy picture for the country’sÂ future.
“Never in my life did I imagine that an Egyptian would kill anotherÂ Egyptian so easily,” she said.
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