CAIRO – Egyptian troops opened fire Friday on supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi as they demonstrated outside the headquarters of the Republican Guard, where Morsi was reported to be under military arrest, witnesses reported.
Witnesses said the troops fired on the demonstration when Morsi's supporters tried to hang a picture of the deposed leader on a barbed-wire fence surrounding the facility.
The Associated Press reported that one person was severely wounded in the head and that several other demonstrators fell to the ground, bloodied. Witnesses said that the shooting quickly stopped and that Egyptian troops were trying to regain control of the area.
Egypt’s army has said it would allow peaceful protests, but the deadly clash raised fears of wider violence on what Morsi's supporters dubbed a “Friday of Rejection.” Tens of thousands rallied in Cairo’s Nasr City section to protest the military coup that removed him from power on Wednesday following massive public protests against his leadership.
Led by a cleric who is sympathetic to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, a large crowd marched from the Nasr City demonstration to the Republican Guard facility, which is about a half-mile away, in eastern Cairo, witnesses said.
Morsi's opponents planned to stage a counter-demonstration in Tahrir Square later Friday, following prayer services. Human Rights Watch said that at least 32 Egyptians, both supporters and opponents of Morsi, have been killed in political unrest since late June and called for an impartial investigation into the violence.
Hassan is a Times special correspondent.