The death toll in violence involving Islamist supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi near Cairo University rose to 16 on Wednesday and 200 people were wounded, state television quoted a Health Ministry spokesman as saying.
Security sources said pro-Mursi demonstrators clashed with security forces. Witnesses said they heard shotgun and rifle fire.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s high command said on Wednesday that the army was ready to die to defend Egypt’s people against terrorists and fools, in a response to President Mohamed Mursi that was headlined “The Final Hours”.
The post on the official Facebook page of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), headed by armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, said: “We swear to God that we will sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool.”
Issued three hours after Mursi appeared on television to reject an ultimatum from Sisi that he share power with his opponents or face a military solution by 5 p.m. (1500 GMT), a military source said the statement made clear that the armed forces would not abandon their demands.
Organisers of the protest movement that drew millions of Egyptians on to the streets this week to demand Mursi’s resignation called on his military guard on Wednesday to arrest him.
Dismissing the claims to legitimacy that Mursi made in a televised address, the “Tamarud – Rebel!” movement said in a statement: “The only response to Mursi’s speech is to protest on the streets in our millions, starting on Wednesday, so that he and his group hear the voice of the great Egyptian people.
“Not only are we calling for his departure but we call for him and his group to be sent for trial. We call on the Republican Guard to arrest Mohamed Mursi and send him for trial immediately.”