Tales of witnesses to Cairo massacre back pro-Morsi version

McClatchy reports: Overlooking the scene where 55 supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi died during a standoff with the Egyptian military two weeks ago are two 16-story apartment buildings whose residents are perhaps the only unbiased witnesses to what happened.

With no videos or photos having surfaced of the initial violence, Morsi supporters and the military have offered two very different versions of what set off the confrontation, the deadliest incident since the military toppled Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, early this month. At least 100 people have since died in clashes between the military and Morsi partisans, most recently Tuesday, when nine people were killed.

But the July 8 incident outside the Republican Guard headquarters in eastern Cairo remains a touchstone for those who say Morsi was toppled in a military coup and that the military has since taken an approach to Islamists that guarantees years of low-level warfare. Many here fear that Morsi’s incompetent Islamist government has been replaced by an excessively brutal security force reminiscent of the three decades of Hosni Mubarak’s rule. Indeed, it was a call against police brutality that launched the January 2011 uprising that led to Mubarak’s fall.

The military’s version of events says pro-Morsi protesters tried to storm the Republican Guard headquarters, where Morsi partisans think the deposed president is being held, and that security forces turned to live bullets only after they’d fired warning shots, blank rounds and tear gas to no effect.

Protesters say they were simply praying when an unwarranted attack began.

The stories of nine occupants of the apartment buildings whom McClatchy interviewed seem to back the protesters’ version of events, even though many of those residents said they had little sympathy for Morsi and had grown frustrated with the protesters’ constant chants, which had gone on for days. [Continue reading…]

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