Violence breaks out at Cairo mosque




Posted on August 17, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 17 at 6:40 PM

CAIRO, Egypt -- The warring factions squared off at a mosque in a public square in Cairo.

With gunfire ringing out, bullets could be seen striking the mosque's minaret.

Inside, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters retreated to what they hoped was safety.

Outside, an angry mob opposed to the restoration of the brotherhood's government, which was overthrown by the military.

The mob itself was backed up by government security forces, who surrounded the mosque with a ring of steel.

The protestors used furniture to barricde themselves in as the mosque became part field hospital and part morgue, a sanctuary for the living and the dead.

The siege ended abruptly when police burst in behind a barrage of tear gas bombs.

Then, chaos amid even more gunfire, police charged protesters: some falling back, choking on the haze of gas. One man tried to douse a gas canister in a water bucket, but the defenders were soon overpowered.

The security forces emerged victorious to the cheers of the crowd. Hundreds of protesters were rounded up and reportedly arrested.

A spokesperson for the Egyptian government saying today "we want reconciliation, but there can be no reconciliation with those who have raised arms against the state.

Elsewhere, the aftermath of friday's "day of rage" protests that killed more than one hundred seventy people. This morgue was crowded with mourners come to collect the bodies of their loved ones - scenes that seem likely to be repeated in the days to come.

The Egyptian government says it's considering a ban on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. The group was outlawed for decades before it swept to power last year.