Casualties are rising in Egypt after security forces moved in with armored vehicles, bulldozers and tear gas to clear two protest camps in Cairo set up by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Amid the bloodshed, Egypt's interim presidency Wednesday announced a one-month state of emergency had begun and ordered the armed forces to help the Interior Ministry enforce security. In addition, a nighttime curfew was declared in Cairo and a number of other provinces.
There are widely divergent estimates of the death toll from the clashes.
The United Nations said it appears hundreds were killed or wounded in the clashes between security forces and demonstrators demanding Mr. Morsi's reinstatement. The Muslim Brotherhood called the security operation a "massacre" and put the death toll at 500, while Egypt's Health Ministry said at least 95 people were killed and 874 wounded.
Witnesses and foreign journalists reported that security forces used live fire from automatic rifles, while the army released photos of pro-Morsi supporters using weapons against riot police. The Interior Ministry said its forces used only tear gas and that they came under fire from the camps.
Scores of people were arrested, including Brotherhood leaders.
Clashes also broke out elsewhere in the capital and other provinces across the country as Islamist anger over the crackdown spread, with police stations, government buildings and Coptic Christian churches attacked or set ablaze.
Egypt Crackdown Draws Condemnation, Appeals for Restraint
The Egyptian government's deadly crackdown on supporters of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi has drawn condemnation from leaders of Muslim nations who backed the ousted leader.
European powers urged the military-backed interim government and its Islamist opponents to avoid an escalation of violence and return to a political dialogue.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described Wednesday's crackdown by Egyptian security forces on pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo as a "massacre." He urged the U.N. Security Council and the Arab League to act immediately to stop it.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul accused the Egyptian government of staging an armed intervention against civilians and called that "unacceptable." Egyptian authorities said some of the protesters were armed and fired at security forces.
Ankara was one of the strongest international critics of the Egyptian military's decision to oust Morsi on July 3, one year after he took office as Egypt's first democratically elected leader.
The military said it acted in response to what it called the will of the people after mass protests by secular Egyptians who accused Mr. Morsi of being anti-democratic.
A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the U.N. chief condemns the violence in Egypt in the strongest terms, and regrets that Egyptian authorities chose to use force against the mostly Islamist demonstrations.
However, the spokesman also said the U.N. chief also is "well aware that the vast majority of the Egyptian people [are] weary of disruptions to normal life caused by demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, and want their country to go forward peacefully in an Egyptian-led process."