A Reuters report Wednesday morning said At least 95 Egyptians were killed early today after government security forces clashed with protesters who support ousted President Mohamed Morsi and have camped in the streets for six weeks, demanding Morsi be returned to power. The Egyptian government imposed a state of emergency as violence erupted across the country. Later reports say the number of dead has climbed to at least 149.
The government denied reports of the high death toll, earlier saying that only 15 people were killed, and that they had found weapons stashes among the crowds of demonstrators. The death toll is undoubtedly much higher than 15 as the unrest has spread throughout much of Egypt. Egyptian state television says several police officers have also been killed.
At a morgue in Cairo, a Reuters reporter claimed to have counted 29 bodies. One of the dead was a 12-year-old boy, according to the reporter.
Morsi supporters and security forces have also been reported to be clashing in areas outside of Cairo, including the cities of Alexandria, Minya, Assiut, Fayoum and Suez, and also in the provinces of Beni Suef and Buhayra.
Egyptian security forces fired tear gas into crowds of pro-Morsi protesters and flames and smoke could be seen rising from the demonstrators' makeshift camps. Supporters of the deposed Egyptian leader claim the government forces are using live bullets, but the government denies those claims and says they are using rubber bullets and tear gas to break up the demonstrations.
Western journalists on the ground in Cairo are reporting gunfire, but news organizations have aired video footage of what appeared to be pro-Morsi protesters firing automatic rifles at soldiers from behind sandbag barricades. Police in riot gear could be seen wearing gas masks, crouched behind armored vehicles. Clouds of tear gas could be seen in the air over the camps.
One of those reporting from Cairo, CBS News producer Alex Ortiz, confirmed reports of automatic weapons being fired in the Egyptian capitol. Ortiz said, "There is a massive amount of automatic weapon fire in the area and the air is thick with tear gas and billowing black smoke."
More than 250 people have been killed as a result of violence clashes in Egypt since the ouster of Morsi after a military coup that that came as a result of mass protests by millions of Egyptians demanding he be removed from office.
The Obama administration has condemned the violence in Egypt, as well as the declaration of a state of emergency. On Wednesday the White House warned the interim government, backed by the Egyptian army, that "the world is watching."