Human rights organizations have condemned the use of excessive force by the military and security forces against supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.
Fifty-one men died as a result of gunshot wound and hundreds were injured on Monday at the Republican Guards headquarters. Morsi supporters say that soldiers guarding the premises opened fire on protesters while they were performing the dawn prayer. In a press conference on Monday, the Armed Forces spokesperson said that an armed group attacked the soldiers and policemen at four am using live ammunition and birdshot.
Videos of the events show armed civilians firing at soldiers and throwing heavy objects at them from the roofs of surrounding buildings.
They also show soldiers firing at protesters, including one six-minute video in which a soldier is seen firing continuously at protesters while other soldiers stand next to him and watch.
Amidst these competing narratives, the fifteen signatory organizations to Monday’s statement insist that confrontations with demonstrators should be bound by international standards even where violence or guns are involved.
“These standards do not allow the use of lethal force or for army snipers to intentionally shoot to kill huge numbers of protesters. The use of force must be within the bounds required to ward off the danger posed by the armed men, even in the case of attempting to break into the Republican Guards headquarters,” the statement reads.
The NGOs also condemn the “ongoing incitement to violence and killing” by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters that they say is aimed at provoking widespread clashes “to further complicate the political scene.”
A fair and independent investigation must be conducted into the events at the Republican Guards headquarters, the NGOs say, while noting that “the practices of the Muslim Brotherhood and the deposed president over the last year have further compromised the integrity of the judiciary and the investigating authorities, dividing judges and making the judiciary a victim of political and ideological polarization.”
Over six hundred men were arrested and detained following Monday’s events. On Wednesday, 446 of these detainees were released on bail of two thousand Egyptian pounds and 206 remanded in custody for fifteen days.
The prosecutor general also ordered the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie on charges of inciting Monday’s violence.
[This article originally appeared on Mada Masr.]