LATEST: Turkey — Police Fire Water Cannons on Protesters in Istanbul

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Hundreds of thousands of supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi rallied in Cairo on Friday to demand his reinstatement and denounce the military coup that deposed him on 3 July.

The demonstrations, centred on the sit-in at the Rabaa El-Adewaya Mosque in a Cairo suburb, built up throughout the capital to mass Iftar dinners last night, as protesters broke the Ramadan fast and sat down on the streets.

Speakers at Rabaa El-Adewaya declared that protesters would maintain demonstrations until Morsi was back in office, or would “die as martyrs”. They insisted that the army would bow to pressure — “whether they want to or not”.

Meanwhile, the US State Department called on the military and interim Government to release Morsi from house arrest.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington agreed with Germany’s appeal for Morsi to be released and was “publicly” making the same request.

Regime officials have said Morsi has been held in a “safe place”, believed to be Republican Guards Headquarters, since the coup.

Psaki also said the latest wave of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt is “politically motivated”.

(Featured Photo: Hussein Malla/AP)

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Turkey: Police Fire Water Cannons on Protesters in Istanbul

Police have fired water cannons at several thousand protesters on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue, as they protest a midnight bill adopted this week by the Parliament which curbed the supervision of the Chamber of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB) in all urban projects.

The bill gives full authority to the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry over the projects.

Members of TMMOB are among the leaders of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which organized protests over the Government’s plans to remove the green space of Istanbul’s Gezi Park.

Police refused to allow the group to walk to Taksim Square, the focal point of last month’s nation-wide protests after the Governor’s Office refused to grant permission. Police then demanded the protesters end the demonstration, warning them that they would be forcibly dispersed if they failed to do so. Most of the protesters scattered as police chased them into the side streets, cutting off some of the pedestrian entrances to the İstiklal Avenue.

Live footage showed riot police using tear gas in the side streets, while reports said that they also fired rubber bullets at protesters.

US Denies Claims It Plans Military Invasion Of Egypt

The US has denied on Saturday claims that Washington is planning a military invasion of Egypt. Responding to allegations in the Egyptian press that naval ships in the Suez area were about to launch an invasion, the US Embassy in Cairo said in a statement that its forces were not in the region for aggressive purposes, but were just passing through.

The statement in full:

“We deny false claims in Egyptian press that U.S. naval ships are in the vicinity of the Arabian Peninsula and the Suez Canal to militarily invade Egypt. The United States has forces regularly deployed in the vicinity of the Arabian Peninsula, and U.S. vessels regularly pass through the Suez Canal en route to the Indian Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea.”

Turkey: PM Erdogan — After Protests, Police to Replace Private Security at Universities

Police will replace private security firms in universities, Prime Minister Erdoğan has announced in response to June’s nation-wide protests.

“We will place in state universities the state-owned security forces instead of private security. Seeing that there were very different things has pushed us to further responsibility,” Erdoğan said after a fast-breaking dinner at Bingöl University in eastern Turkey.

“We don’t want to see young people walking around with Molotov cocktails, machetes or this and that,” he said.

Egypt — MPs Protest Dissolution of Upper House of Parliament

Members of the Shura Council, the Upper House of Parliament, have rejected its dissolution after the coup that overthrew President Morsi.

“We affirm that Egypt’s Constitution is still in effect, and that the Military Council can’t halt the constitution which the Egyptian people agreed upon in a fair and free referendum,” the MPs said in a statement, as they gathered at the pro-Morsi sit-in at Rabaa El-Adewaya Square in Cairo.

“We declare our insistence that the Shura Council is legal and that it may not be dissolved by a military coup,” the statement continued, calling on “all the world’s parliaments to support the Egyptian people who lost their constitutional institutions because a regime staged a coup d’état against their new democracy”.

Iraq — 31 Killed in Tea House Bomb

At least 31 people were killed in a bomb attack on a tea house in northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Friday.

The blast occured as customer were breaking their Ramadan fast.

“I left the cafe to go to my shop opposite. When the explosion happened the glass of my shop shattered and I was injured by the fragments. I rushed to the scene….Some bodies were dismembered,” a witness said.

Kirkuk is located along the contested internal boundary between the Kurdistan region and Iraq.

At least 761 people were killed in attacks across Iraq in June, and at least 76 people were slain on Thursday by bombs and gunfire.