Aug. 14 - After Egyptian security forces clashed with supporters of deposed president Mohamed Mursi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the violence, calling for an end to the state of emergency and urging all sides to seek a political solution. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION STORY: The United States strongly condemns Egypt's violence, calls for the state of emergency to end as soon as possible and urges all sides to seek a political solution, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday (August 12) while making a statement to reporters in Washington. "Today's events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy," Kerry told reporters at the State Department. "Egyptians inside and outside the government need to take a step back, they need to calm the situation and avoid further loss of life," he added. Earlier, Egyptian security forces crushed a protest camp of thousands of supporters of the deposed president, shooting dead scores of people in the bloodiest day in decades in the Arab world's most populous country. The health ministry said 149 people were killed, both in Cairo and in clashes that broke out elsewhere in the country. Deposed President Mohamed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood said the death toll was far higher in what it described as a "massacre". While dead bodies wrapped in carpets were carried to a makeshift morgue near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the army-backed rulers declared a one-month state of emergency, restoring to the military the unfettered power it wielded for decades before a pro-democracy uprising in 2011. Thousands of Mursi's supporters had been camped at two major sites in Cairo since before he was toppled on July 3, and had vowed not leave the streets until he was returned to power. With the assault, the authorities ended the six-week stand-off with a show of state force that defied international pleas for restraint. Egypt is the strategic heart of the Middle East, striding the Suez Canal and with a peace treaty with Israel. Violence spread beyond Cairo, with Mursi supporters and security forces clashing in the cities of Alexandria, Minya, Assiut, Fayoum and Suez and in Buhayra and Beni Suef provinces. The bloodshed also effectively ends the open political role of the Brotherhood, with the harshest ever crackdown on a movement that survived underground for 85 years to emerge after the 2011 uprising and win every election held since.