Egyptian Violence in the Wake of Leadership Change

At least 51 pro-Morsi demonstrators have been killed in the latest clash with military forces.
13:28 | 07/08/13

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Transcript for Egyptian Violence in the Wake of Leadership Change
This is a special report from ABC news. I'm Dan Cutler -- New York witness ABC news digital special report. Rise up that was the message from Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt to their Islamist supporters. Just hours after a clash with the military that left at least fifty protesters dead. And now observers are were in the incident could signal the beginning -- yet another new. And violent phase of Egypt's long revolution we're joined now Cairo by -- mark part Alex thank you for being with us. Eight tell me a little -- out walk through what happened this morning -- from the Republican guard. Headquarters. All we know that around 4 AM shots started being fired from both sides. Both the soldiers and into the crowd as you mentioned we now know. That 61 people have been killed some 435. Wounded a vast majority. Of them are civilians. One is a soldier to our police statement and the question of course becomes. -- who fired first if you ask the Muslim Brotherhood. They say that -- -- AM they were starting their dawn prayers when shots started being fired live ammunition -- shot. Tear gas were fired at protesters. Leading these sixty people dead. We have seen videos it's soldiers on rooftops firing into the crowd. Said the brotherhood says that it ends the Muslim Brotherhood which is ousted president Mohamed -- -- party. Say that it was very much the army that started things now however the army. Has turned around and -- -- -- armed terrorists acts -- -- that started throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails firing -- shot and bullets. -- soldiers. Who really got this under way they've made they held a press conference a short while ago to -- absolutely. No apologies. Date -- -- and I'm quoting now we have dealt with the acts of provocation professionally. And wisely. Condit denied that any children have been killed. This -- all of these -- are part of a campaign of lies being waged against the armed forces so. The brotherhood in response has called for an uprising. -- -- and will continue to be peaceful. But -- -- certainly. Sadness that some elements will be violence and and we are afraid that the blood center this morning could continue. Alex if you can help us. Put this in the context it was just less than a week ago it was Wednesday when president Mohamed Morrissey. Was deposed by the military and an interim president was put it in his place. In the days since we have seen a lot of protests in tahrir square on -- sixth of October bridge are those situations still very active. -- -- what you -- and since then is is simply deepening divisions. Neither side really none -- the -- -- -- the military. The NC more C camp to pro -- camp. Really. Giving any sort of concessions. It makes this job -- forming an interim government's far more difficult. We had heard that the name -- home and ElBaradei the former UN nuclear chief tossed around. As being prime minister and taxi -- incidents of Presidential Palace for meeting with the presently being -- president. Months were -- on the and then what happened was the islamists. -- ultraconservative is it was a good islamists known -- office in the -- -- party. Said absolutely not we don't want him to be a member of this government -- his name was was quickly removed and and his name was floated for vice president. -- but that still hasn't been confirmed. The brotherhood of course isn't even taking part in this process because there -- men Mohammed -- was deposed by the military last week. So and then this morning after this disadvantage where these sixty some people were killed the all -- -- party. Has pulled out of these negotiations so -- talking about. An interim president is trying to form a government that is including a massive swath of the population between -- -- party in the Muslim Brotherhood. They got around 70%. Of the vote in the parliamentary elections so you know you can form a government does not necessarily be represented in the entire population. And is also kind of add some context to that president Mohammad -- he won by 51% of the votes during the election last year. -- you know there's a lot of international pressure for the military to be able to establish these next elections both for parliament and also for president. As quickly and as diplomatically as possible but. These are major step -- it seems reforming this interim government. The one word -- one key word that -- here day after day when you go and visit. With the protesters who are poor or in more -- camp. -- the Muslim Brotherhood protesters the -- -- is legitimacy. They continually come up to me saying we had -- -- who was elected legitimately he was elected in free and fair elections the democratic process. Which by all accounts international standards went smoothly he won by a hair as he mentioned 61 point 7% of the vote. But he still -- -- so many of these protesters. Are saying give him more time so now we have the military going in and deposing him. A what they're calling a military coup which the anti -- camp refuses to call -- -- they're -- they're saying to take over in the the military. Was responding to incident called -- people. You've got a lot of these islamists a lot of them to -- -- types were turning around is saying. -- what's the point of voting what's the point of democracy where's my vote you know we we voted. It went well and here we are a year later and the guys already being kicked out of office. Now of course -- the major -- now is. Did this experiment Indian political Islam that has failed it's it's gone completely wrong. And so this huge part of the population is as we've been talking about will -- turn around and say I'm not. Participate in democracy where others fear that. He speaks as honest a young -- -- -- Radicalized. And turn to -- -- it's a very dangerous scenario and it's a very dangerous precedent to precedent to set. I say this very cautiously because -- certainly don't want -- have you characterize the situation there is anything other than what the reality is on the ground but is there a possibility. For a civil war to be taking place in Egypt considering the fact the military is incredibly strong incredibly well organized and obviously was at the hands of the -- more -- but. At the same time with those fighting factions is there a possibility that even they might overwhelm the military strength. Well it's hard to say whether they -- would overwhelm the military's incredibly powerful in terms of did their duty equipment that it -- -- -- it gets one point three billion dollars from the US. Every year we've seen a lot of that American hardware on display Apache helicopters flying overhead tanks and ABC's. In the streets so it's tough to say on on a sort of you know guns and gun level but but you're definitely. You're actually right when you when you talk -- wore many -- -- -- possibility. Well before these protests and started this -- Dan didn't that is certainly a possibility just today. -- -- of the Al ansari mosque which is the main religious authorities here in Egypt mentioned it as as being a possibility you know more so. Perhaps than ever he misses a deeply polarized -- right now since that is something we're watching. Incidents like this morning will only stool that's here. I also ask you Alex how does this situation play out across the rest of the region for Syria for Israel. As other countries are seen exactly this kind of unrest in this kind of back and forth that's going on between Egypt and -- You know Egypt has long been it's sort of an anchor of stability here in the region it was the one country that the US could rely on him to be stable and soon. Exert its influence over the rest the region is certainly. To do -- Israel and and the Palestinians and into an extent even since Morse he has come into power. He you know do more seat -- Muslim Brotherhood. It is really believed. To be older brother if you will. It's -- Hamas in Gaza and -- -- receives Lara -- between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It's been more -- the egyptians who've come in and basically been able to settle that. They're great relationships between Israel and Israeli military and Egyptian military Israeli intelligence agents and intelligence. You know when you -- in -- country the most populous country in the Arab world -- -- million people about one quarter of the entire Arab population when you're talking about that country possibly falling into civil war or at least being so divided that he can't -- mean -- -- -- be mired in this stuff for a long long time to come. It's extraordinarily. Worrying we -- -- Very you know very unstable. Countries and the rest the Middle East whether it's you know Syria Lebanon. You know Tunisia. Libya the list goes on so to -- At this as such importing country like Egypt to meet top of that list is very scary not just of the region of the United States. Alice whom we spoke last week when president Morse he had been deposed by the military we had seen those huge crowds out in tahrir square -- hundreds of thousands of people. And in the following days then we had discussed the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood essentially for lack of a better description was. Lying low to kind of figure out what exactly -- they were going to do next and as we've been seen this situation escalate in get more intense we've seen a stronger presence of the Muslim Brotherhood but what about those initial crowds from tahrir square those protesters those. Those anti more -- groups that were out there that that really started this whole chain reaction. They've still been out there I -- dig him out yesterday to finalize what they called their great victory amid all across Egypt. And particularly here in clarity staged. Long long marches all over the city that converged on top tahrir square I mean if you looked at pictures of tigers where liked last night it looked like a rock concert it looked like. The -- at that that Hosni Mubarak was imposed a two and a half years ago when we last spoke. The brotherhood was in complete disarray it's it's head has been locked office you will always -- more -- -- is still under house arrest. He's under house stressed that his supporters believe that Republican guard headquarters and that's why they've been gathering there there have been several other -- of top members. But in the meantime several other top members have. Have been released have come forward and so they are starting to coalesce they are starting to continents and to speak as low as one again I was speaking Wednesday -- top official. -- today who of course was naturally serious not just about that in the military coup as they call -- -- -- course this deadly incident this morning. And he said. Yes of course we're calling for an uprising they say they wanna keep it peaceful but of course violence is going to be the natural reaction. -- students -- what they're calling this massacre. What what exactly is the military's interest in all of this they have a stake in the Egyptian economy. We'll -- long been the most powerful. Institution in this country I mean it didn't -- -- All of the presidents of this country until more C. The word military men Morrissey was the first civilian and he's now been been kicked out after years so that that really goes to show how powerful they are when it when -- uprising started against Mubarak. And he continued and grew and grew the military didn't step in and Mubarak was gone so essentially I was you know it tacitly allowed by. By the military in this case we we saw millions of people take to the streets last Sunday and -- in the days that followed military stepped in and the president was -- that just shows you. How strong they are. In certainly in terms that are traditional power but -- goes well beyond that as you mentioned they control anywhere between sixteen to 40% of the economy and that's a huge part of the economy into it do everything from. Water all of -- soon slots screen TV's real estate hotels and hospitals. So it's in their interest -- -- it keeps things stable. They don't necessarily want to run the country they ran the -- you remember between. Hosni Mubarak and -- -- -- and it did not go well we if we get a flashback to years how. Half ago there were protests in the streets. Accusing the military trying to hold on to power so they don't want to be the front man they don't want to be. Don't deface of the country but they do want to lurk in the background and control huge parts. Of this of this country's air. And certainly one of the other points that a lot of the world is watching is the control of the Suez Canal a vital port. For shipping there. Absolutely. Some two billion -- -- two million barrels of oil passed through the Suez Canal every day it's controlled by Egypt we have seen violence. In the in the Sinai Peninsula that has driven oil prices up. Is beginning incidents and to creep into. Into gas prices and that's something that we revision that we and then of course oil traders and and anybody who's driving a car to watch closely. ABC's -- mark marks in Cairo forests Alex thank you for that. Of course we have a complete write up on abcnews.com. On that attack on the Republican guard headquarters earlier this morning that left at least fifty people. Dead for now on -- Cutler -- New York with this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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