CAIRO — "The number of troops that came from inside was stunning," said Mahmoud, who was wounded in the hand. The troops opened fire and "I saw injuries in the chest, the neck, the head and the arm," he said.
A guard at a nearby bank said security forces first moved in on the encampment firing tear gas, then he heard gunfire, though who couldn't tell who was firing. He said that over recent days the Morsi protesters had imposed their control on the surrounding district and were clearly armed.
At field hospitals set up Morsi supporters, at least six dead bodies were shown laid out on the ground, some with severe wounds, in video aired by Al-Jazeera TV. The bodies had been draped with an Egyptian flag and pictures of Morsi. Pools of blood covered the floor and doctors struggled to deal with gaping wounds among some of the hundreds injured.
Egyptian state TV showed images provided by the military of the scene of the sit-in amid the melee. Dozens of protesters were shown pelting troops with rocks and setting tires on fire. Soldiers in riot gear and carrying shields formed lines a few meters (yards) away.
A fire raged from an apartment in a building overlooking the clashes. Images showed men throwing spears from atop nearby building rooftops. Other protesters were lobbing fire bombs at the troops. It was not clear at what stage in the melee the footage was filmed. Security officers were showing cameras bullet casings, and troops were carrying injured colleagues.
By the afternoon, troops moved in and cleared the sit-in site and blockades on the road. The site of the early morning clashes, a strip of road about a kilometer long (about half a mile), was covered with rocks, shattered glass, shoes, clothes, prayer rugs and personal photographs. A big Morsi banner remained hoisted in front of the Republican Guards' building. On the ground below it, graffiti read: "Where are our votes?"