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Rabaa massacre commemorated in Egypt and Turkey

At least seven Egyptians were shot dead Thursday when security forces dispersed rallies marking the first anniversary of the killing of hundreds of protesters in Cairo, according to the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy. Interior Ministry officials were unavailable for comment, but Egyptian police usually deny using live ammunition against demonstrators. Khaled al-Khatib, head of emergency services at the Health Ministry, told The Anadolu Agency the ministry had not received any reports of fatalities during the protests. "Only one injury was reported… and they were taken to the hospital," he added. Protesters staged additional demonstrations in several other cities across the country to demand the prosecution of officials who ordered last summer's bloody crackdown. At least 63 Muslim Brotherhood members in seven Egyptian provinces were arrested on suspicion of "acts of rioting and violence," a security source said.  Thursday's protests, which came amid a stepped-up deployment by Egyptian security forces, were in response to calls by the pro-Morsi National Alliance for an "uprising" against Egypt's military-backed government.

Referring to accusations by Egyptian authorities that supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi had incited violence across the country, alliance spokesman Khaled Said said: "Our approach is peaceful. We reject any form of violence.

"We have not called for rioting, roadblocks or sabotage. Rather, we called on revolutionaries to use creative peacefulness in an effort to exhaust the Interior Ministry without resorting to violence.”

He added that alliance supporters had no intention of storming Cairo's Tahrir and Rabaa al-Adawiya squares, or Giza's Nahda Square.

"Egypt is our square," he said. "It is open for us to protest anywhere."

Said went on to say that the group would continue protests Friday as part of plans to commemorate the hundreds of victims killed last year when security forces dispersed sit-ins at Rabaa and Nahda.

Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who won Egypt's first free presidential election in 2012, was ousted by the military in July last year following protests against his rule.

Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, widely seen as the architect of Morsi ousting and subsequent imprisonment, won May’s presidential election.

Hundreds of people in Istanbul marched Thursday to commemorate Rabaa killings. The protesters, including representatives of Turkey’s largest trade unions Memur-Sen and Hak-Is, marched on Istiklal Street near Istanbul's central Taksim Square.

"President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and Mohammed Ibrahim, the current interior minister, and those who supported them in the current government are responsible for the killings of our people, for the oppression in the streets, for the rapes in the prisons, and they will be held accountable," Maha Azzam, of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council -- a newly-established network of Egyptian opposition groups -- told the crowd.

Abdur Rahman Dilipak, a writer for the Turkish daily Yeni Safak and co-founder of the International Rabia Platform, said Turkey stood with the oppressed.

There were marches in more than 50 cities across Turkey to commemorate the killings, including capital Ankara and the western port city of Izmir.

Speaking at a gathering of the ruling Justice and Development Party on Thursday, outgoing Prime Minister and President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "Today is August 14, the Rabaa Day. Rabaa is the day when those against the coup made a heroic struggle in Egypt. Turkey is the only country to oppose the murder of democracy, the murders of innocent people and the human tragedy in Egypt.

"However, if you look at some national and international media, once again they are unfairly, unjustifiably and baselessly targeting Turkey. They do not understand one thing -- that we do not bow before these games."

On Tuesday, the New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Egyptian security forces of the "systematic" killing of 1,150 demonstrators last summer, including at least 817 in Rabaa al Adawiya.

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