CAIRO — Security forces and armed men clashed with supporters of Egypt’s ousted president early Saturday, killing at least 65 people in mayhem that underscored an increasingly heavy hand against protests demanding Mohammed Morsi’s return to office.
In chaotic scenes, pools of blood stained the floor and bodies were lined up under white sheets in a makeshift hospital near the site of the battles in eastern Cairo. Doctors struggled to cope with the flood of dozens of wounded, many with gunshots to the head or chest.
It was the deadliest single outbreak of violence since the military ousted Morsi on July 3 and one of the deadliest in 2 ½ years of turmoil in Egypt. It was not immediately clear if all the 65 killed were all protesters or if residents who joined the fight against the march were among the dead. The Brotherhood said that 66 Morsi supporters were killed in the Cairo violence.
The extent of the bloodshed pointed to a rapidly building confrontation between the country’s two camps, sharply divided over the coup that removed Egypt’s first freely elected president after widespread protests against his rule.
Authorities talk more boldly of making a move to end weeks of protests by Morsi’s largely Islamist supporters. At the same time, the Islamists are growing more assertive in challenging security forces as they try to win public backing for their cause.
Pope shames Brazil church for letting Catholics stray
RIO DE JANEIRO — Pope Francis issued blunt, soul-searching criticism Saturday of the Brazilian church’s failure to stem the “exodus” of Catholics to evangelical congregations, challenging the region’s bishops to be closer to the people to understand their problems and persuade them that Catholicism isn’t “barren, fruitless soil.”
In the longest and most important speech of his four-month pontificate, Francis drove home a message he has emphasized throughout his first international trip to World Youth Day: the need for Catholics, lay and religious, to shake up the status quo, get out of their stuffy sacristies and reach the faithful on the margins of society or risk losing them to rival churches.