by Mahmoud Fouly
CAIRO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Traffic has been resumed at Rabia al- Adawiya Square in Cairo's Nasr City Thursday morning, after the authorities cleared the aftermath of dispersing a sit-in organized by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi a day earlier.
At Al-Nasr road leading to Rabia al-Adawiya, a burnt and overturned police armored vehicle was seen under 6th of October bridge. Morsi's angry loyalists on Wednesday afternoon pushed the vehicle, with several policemen inside, off the bridge to land on its roof on the ground.
While approaching Rabia al-Adawiya Square, military armored vehicles and soldiers were seen deployed all over the road. The minaret of Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque appeared burnt on the horizon, indicating a devastated mosque underneath.
The mosque, which once was a landmark in Nasr City, looked dim and completely ruined. Low-flame fires were still blazing at some chambers of the mosque, whose main hall, columns, rooms and attached clinic were all a mess.
Back to the square, smoke, debris, garbage and damaged police and private vehicles were seen everywhere, while workers of the country's cleanliness authority have been working since the early hours of Thursday to remove the ruins.
"It is a difficult job today but we have to do it. It is our duty," Mahmoud al-Sayyid, one of the cleaning workers, said, adding that "it is our country and we have to work hard to make it better than before."
"Today's work is unusual, as they left too much garbage behind, " said another garbage collecter, Arafa Desouki, who expressed happiness while doing his job and lamented the damage and sabotage Morsi's supporters made before they left.
Although the event was a tragedy for Morsi's loyalists, the residents around Rabia al-Adawiya were overjoyed by disbanding the sit-in that crippled their everyday life.
Tarek al-Sherif, head of owners union of one of the nearby buildings, said that the pro-Morsi sit-in was like "a nightmare" for the residents, noting that pro-Morsi protesters "occupied" the back and front gardens of the building and camped there as part of their sit-in.
"They even checked our identities before allowing us to get into our own building," the man told Xinhua. "This has nothing to do with Islam. They made us feel we were living at a colony."
He added that Morsi's loyalists used to open tanks of the cars parking in the building garage to make Molotov cocktails and that they damaged at least 15 vehicles in the garage before they were dispersed.
The doorman of another building, Ali Eid, said Morsi's loyalists started setting fire to everything around, including the mosque itself, when the security forces besieged the sit-in.
"They used our building back yard and the adjacent school and camped there, installing sandbag and cement walls for protection," Eid told Xinhua, noting that some of them opened fire at security men during the clashes.
At least 525 people were killed and 3,717 others injured across Egypt in clashes between supporters of Morsi and the security troops, after the latter dispersed Wednesday two major pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and Giza, a Health Ministry official said Thursday.
The Health Ministry said earlier that 43 policemen were killed in Wednesday's confrontations.
A medical source told Xinhua on Thursday that at least 550 people might have been killed in the clashes around Rabia al- Adawiya alone.
"There are 300 dead bodies at Iman Mosque, 14 others at Zinhom Morgue, three unknown bodies at Heliopolis Hospital, four at the One-Day Surgery Hospital, 43 bodies at the Medical Insurance Hospital and 190 bodies at Nasser Institute Hospital, all in Cairo, " Samar Suweilam, a surgeon at Qasr al-Aini, Cairo's largest public hospital, told Xinhua at Iman Mosque, where dozens of shrouded dead bodies were lined up to be prepared for burial.
Iman Mosque, not far from Rabia al-Adawiya, showed a real reflection of the tragedy, with crowds of family members of victims identifying the dead bodies of their beloved ones.
Parents, spouses and siblings were uncontrollably weeping on their deceased to the point that some of them were grievously talking to the dead bodies, petting them and kissing them.
"My son was a 34-year-old pharmacist. He left behind two little daughters," one of the mothers at the mosque told Xinhua while shedding tears, noting that her heart broke when she received the news late Wednesday night.
Wafaa Mohamed Abbas, sister of a 25-year-old victim, said her brother Mahmoud, a law college graduate, was helping take the dead bodies to Rabia al-Adawiya field hospital when he was shot dead in the head.
"We came early Thursday to Iman Mosque but we have not found his name on the victim list hanging outside. When we came in, we found his dead body," said Abbas.
Crowds of Morsi's angry supporters outside the mosque vowed that they would not give up and that they would not care anymore about the peacefulness of their response.