Clashes erupted in several Egyptian cities Sunday, in a surge of violence that raised new questions about the ability of the interim government to secure the fractured country. At least 51 people were killed in the process.
The deadly bloodshed came as thousands of Egyptians celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1973 war with Israel, setting up a day of bizarre contrasts that served as reminders of Egypt’s deepening polarization since the ouster of Morsi.
As the military’s supporters celebrated the anniversary in Tahrir Square in Cairo with music and fireworks, officers and armed civilian loyalists set upon Islamist protesters who were also trying to reach the square, driving back their marches with tear gas and gunfire.
More than 250 people were injured, officials said.
Over the last three months, with little resistance from the public, the military has set out to vanquish the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that propelled Morsi to power. Since July, hundreds of Brotherhood members have been killed and most of the movement’s leaders have been sent to jail or fled the country.