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Live: Egypt Declares National Emergency After Scores Killed In Bloody Clashes

14/08/2013 20:09 BST | Updated 14/08/2013 20:17 BST

Egyptian authorities have declared a month-long state of emergency after scores of people were killed when security forces stormed protest camps in Cairo.

Many of the dead are believed to be supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi, who was deposed in early July in a military-backed coalition of secular political interests.

State media claims that security forces are in control of the two main camps. Figures for the dead are disputed with the health ministry saying that 149 people were killed while the Muslim Brotherhood, who occupied the camps, put the number at 2,000.

Curfews in Cairo and several other provinces have been imposed, coming into effect between 7pm local time (5pm GMT) and 6am. The emergency decree includes; the arrest of suspects deemed dangerous to public order, the army to help police maintain security, limited movement of people and traffic and surveillance on messages and monitoring of media.

Vice-President Mohammed El Baradei resigned from the interim government in the wake of the bloodshed.

"I cannot continue in shouldering the responsibility for decisions I do not agree with and I fear their consequences. I cannot shoulder the responsibility for a single drop of blood," he said in a statement.

Earlier, clashes at one Muslim Brotherhood protest site extended late into the day, across the city there were reports of small gun battles, and churches and government buildings being burned or seized. Vigilante and neighborhood watch groups, once a fixture of post-revolutionary Cairo, were seen being formed late in the day.

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Estimates over casualties are disputed

Scores of people have been killed in the storming of the sites - the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Nasr City and another one in Nahda Square, although exact numbers are unknown. The Ministry of Health has reported a death toll of 149, while reporters on the scene inside Rabaa counted the bodies of more than 100, and expected the number to go up. More than 1,400 people have been injured, according to Reuters.

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Sky News cameraman killed in bloody crackdown

Pictures: Scores killed in Egypt

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As unrest spread across Egypt - especially in Christian areas of the Upper Nile, where several churches were reported to come under attack from angry Muslim Brotherhood supporters - Mohammed al-Beltagi, a leader of the Brotherhood movement, appeared on television to urge his followers to rise up against Egypt's military leadership. He particularly called out Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the armed forces.

"I swear by God that if you stay in your homes, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will embroil this country so that it becomes Syria," al-Beltagi said, according to Reuters. "Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will push this nation to a civil war so that he escapes the gallows."

A Brotherhood-linked media group later reported that al-Beltagi's 17-year-old daughter, Asmaa, was among those killed in the clashes.

At least two journalists have been killed in the fighting. Mick Deane, a cameraman for Sky News, who was shot and killed while filming at Rabaa, and Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, a reporter for the newspaper XPress. Many other reporters faced harassment and beatings while covering the clashes.

Within two hours of the storming of the camps large crowds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters had gathered along Nasr Street, about a kilometer away from the entrance to Rabaa, where hundreds of police and army officers had gathered. Massive reinforcements on both sides kept arriving all morning.

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An ambulance driver told HuffPost they couldn't get closer to the clashes because the tear gas made it impossible for them to work, and they were afraid their cars would be trapped.

"Is this the democracy everyone talked about?" a man pleaded, as he watched an injured protester be placed in an ambulance. "The army shooting people in the streets? Is this what we were promised?"

Residents of the neighborhood, who have grown fatigued by more than a month of protests, gathered at the Addas Aqad intersection to chant slogans for the Army, "The people, the army, one hand" and swarmed as injured protesters and policemen were carried away from the sit in.

One block away, Muslim Brotherhood supporters gathered to face off with the police, lighting small fires in the street and chanting, "The Army, Sisi, dirty hands."

Periodically, police fired barrages of tear gas and what sounded like machine gun fire down the street toward the Brotherhood supporters, forcing them back toward El Nozha street, and into cover behind cars parked nearby.

Protesters leaving the site held up unfired rifle rounds and said, "This is our Egyptian Army." It was unclear whether police were firing real ammunition or rubber bullets.

Demonstrators inside Rabaa were still holding out as the barrage of tear gas and ammunition continued into the late afternoon. There were little signs that the injured were able to be moved out of field hospitals inside Rabaa, and reporters on the scene said they counted dozens of dead bodies in the makeshift morgues there.

In an alley near the clashes, a skinny 22-year-old resident in shorts and a T-shirt stood holding a white flower, staring mournfully at the scene. He declined to give his name, but said he had recently served in the army and was due for another term.

"I love the Egyptian army," the man said, "but what they are doing, killing protesters, it's against humanity."

Joshua Hersh Reporting Live: