CAIRO (AP) — Army troops opened fire today on protesters demanding the reinstatement of toppled President Mohammed Morsi, killing at least one, as supporters of the Islamist leader rallied across Egypt chanting "Down with military rule!"
The shooting threatens to escalate Egypt's confrontation, with Morsi's Islamist backers rejecting the army's ousting of the country's first freely elected president. Some heavily armed extremist groups have already vowed violent retaliation against the army, and before dawn gunmen in the Sinai launched a major attack on military facilities.
The army shooting came when hundreds of protesters marched on the Republican Guard building in Cairo, where Morsi was staying at the time of his ouster Wednesday night before being taken into military custody at an undisclosed location. The crowd approached a barbed wire barrier where troops were standing guard around the building.
When one person hung a sign of Morsi on the barrier, the troops tore it down and told the crowd to stay back. A protester put up a second sign, and the soldiers opened fire, according to an Associated Press photographer.
Several bloodied protesters fell to the ground. One had a gaping, bleeding wound in the back of his head. Other protesters carried the body into a nearby building and covered his head with a blanket, declaring him dead, according to AP Television News footage.