Anarchy took over the streets of Cairo as a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood told supporters to fight on in the wake of a military coup that ousted President Mohammed Morsi and the swearing in of Interim President Adly Mansour.
The promised “Friday of rage” left 30 Egyptians slain in vicious street fighting as the defiant head of the Muslim Brotherhood urged a fight to the death against the military coup.
More than 450 others were injured in clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi as anarchy reigned in parts of Cairo and across the country.
Gunfire crackled, fireworks burst and stones flew, with supporters of the toppled administration storming government buildings, the state TV headquarters and military facilities.
“God make Morsi victorious and bring him back to the palace,” Muslim Brotherhood supreme leader Mohammed Badie declared in an incendiary speech.
“We are his soldiers and we will defend him with our lives,” he told tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters at a Cairo mosque. “With our bare chests, we’re stronger than bullets.”
Badie’s appearance came one day after state TV reported he was taken into custody following the military coup that deposed Morsi — elected barely a year ago in Egypt’s first democratic presidential race.
The dead on Friday included four marchers killed when troops opened fire on a peaceful protest march on the Republican Guard headquarters.
A dozen more perished in gunfire in Alexandria, where hundreds of Islamists warred with anti-Morsi forces. One of the pro-coup demonstrators was stabbed and tossed from the roof of a building after raising an Egyptian flag while hurling insults against the ex-president.
And five police officers were fatally shot in two incidents in the North Sinai town of El Arish, according to Reuters.
The street fighting stretched into the night, with Islamists battling against the still-enormous anti-Morsi forces in Tahrir Square.
One bridge spanning the Nile was barricaded with barbed wire and armored military vehicles. An anti-Morsi demonstrator, his jeans soaked with blood from gunshot wounds, was carried from one shootout.
“They are firing at us, sons of dogs!” shouted one of his comrades. “Where is the army?”
There was still no timetable announced for the democratic election expected to choose a successor to Morsi, who remained under house arrest.
Muslim Brotherhood deputy head Khairat el-Shater was arrested Friday, officials announced.
The State Department issued a statement condemning the violence on both sides while calling on Egyptian leaders to crack down on the warring factions.
“The voices of those who are protesting peacefully must be heard — including those who welcomed the events of earlier this week and those who supported President Morsi,” said spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
“The Egyptian people must come together to resolve their differences peacefully, without recourse to violence,” a spokeswoman said.