Cairo was quiet on Thursday, a day after hundreds of people were killed in violence across the country, with the Muslim Brotherhood vowing to continue “peaceful” protests against the army ousting of Mohamed Morsy from presidency.
The capital’s usually traffic-snarled streets were almost empty in the morning, after a night of curfew imposed by the military-backed authorities as part of a month-long state of emergency.
State media said banks, the Cairo stock exchange and post offices were closing nationwide because of fears of renewed violence.
Troops and armoured vehicles were positioned on main roads and outside key state institutions in Cairo.
The army has vowed firmness in enforcing the curfew, a clear warning to defiant Islamists.
“We will always be non-violent and peaceful,” said Gehad El-Hadad, the spokesman for Mr. Morsy’s Brotherhood.
“We remain strong, defiant and resolute. We will push forward until we bring down this military coup,” he posted on Twitter.
At least 278 people, including 43 policemen, were killed across Egypt on Wednesday after police moved in to break up protests calling for Mr. Morsy’s reinstatement, according to health authorities.
The Brotherhood said some 2,600 people had been killed.
Despite the curfew, protests and clashes were reported overnight and into Thursday in various parts of Egypt between Mr. Morsy’s backers and security forces.
The Brotherhood claimed on its website that protest marches had taken place in Egypt’s second city, Alexandria, and two other northern provinces, in defiance of the curfew.
The official Middle East News Agency reported that thousands of Mr. Morsy’s supporters had also gathered outside a mosque in eastern Cairo.
Mr. Morsy’s backers on Thursday attacked a church and Christians’ houses in the southern city of Assiut, according to witnesses.
Hundreds of Islamists hurled petrol bombs at the main church and torched 15 houses owned by local Christians at the end of a protest held against the police crackdown on pro-Morsy protest camps in Cairo, witnesses added.
Egyptian Catholic Church spokesman Father Rafic Greiche said 17 churches had been attacked on Wednesday following security forces’ deadly swoops on the protest camps in the north-east and south of Cairo.
Islamist insurgents also fired two mortar shells at a police station in Assiut, said security sources.
The attack was followed by a gun-battle between the assailants and security forces, resulting in unspecified casualties, the sources added.
The army last month deposed Mr. Morsy — Egypt’s first democratically elected president — following mass demonstrations against his one-year rule.
The Brotherhood has not recognized the military-installed government and has vowed to continue protests until Mr. Morsy is restored to office.