The Crisis in Egypt
Egyptians brace for more bloodshed after deadly clashes between protesters and military forces
MAP: Protests are happening across Egypt, though they have been focused in the country's capital, Cairo. (Jim McMahon)
PHOTO: Egypt's police and military began using deadly force against civilians on Wednesday. (Asmaa Waguih / Reuters)
Protests have grown in Egypt since the country's president was removed from power in July. But now the military and police have been instructed to use deadly force to end the demonstrations. More than 600 people were killed during protests on Wednesday.
The protests began when the military forced Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to give up his job. He was the country's first president to be truly democratically elected. The military removed Morsi from office after widespread protests against him. Opponents disagreed with the way he had been running the country, and they hoped a new leader could make Egypt better.
But supporters of Morsi then took to the streets of major Egyptian cities including Cairo, the country's capital, to ask that Morsi be returned to power. Protests have continued since new leadership backed by Egypt's military was announced.
The use of violence against civilians (citizens not in the military) surprised government leaders around the world. On Thursday, President Barack Obama criticized the Egyptian government. He announced that the United States would temporarily stop support of the Egyptian military.
"While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back," President Obama said.
Those who were against Morsi's leadership had hoped that a new government might be able to solve the serious problems facing Egypt. Their biggest concern is the economy (the wealth and resources of a country). According to the Egyptian government, about half of the country's people are living in poverty (without money or many essential resources, such as food).
But many of Morsi's supporters think that the military removed him because of his religion. Morsi is a member of a political group called the Muslim Brotherhood. This group believes the rules of their religion—Sunni Islam—should be a major influence on the laws that govern Egypt.
Even with the threat of more violence, thousands of protesters again returned to the streets on Friday.