'They're prepared to die'
For weeks, the two makeshift Cairo protest camps had become cities unto themselves -- with people sleeping in tents, vendors hawking everything from haircuts to masks, and children playing in inflatable castles and splashing in kiddie pools.
At dawn on Wednesday, they came under siege.
Security forces rushed in, bulldozing tents and escorting away hundreds. Some mothers and fathers managed to whisk away their children, gas masks on their faces.
Within three hours, the smaller camp -- Nahda, near Cairo University -- was clear, except for shreds of torn-down tents that remained.
But the larger protest, near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in eastern Cairo, proved trickier. Facing heavy resistance, the military called in special forces.
Chaos ensued. Along with smoke, bursts of rapid gunfire filled the air, as did people's wails. Many protesters refused to leave, even in the face of bulldozers and surrounded by the injured and dead.
"They said they're prepared to die," CNN's Reza Sayah reported.
State TV reported that snipers from the Muslim Brotherhood -- Morsy's party -- exchanged gunfire with Egyptian security forces near a university building.
The dead included cameraman Mick Deane, who'd worked for UK-based news channel Sky News for 15 years and for CNN before that. Habiba Abdel Aziz of Gulf News, who was in Egypt on her own time having celebrated the Eid holiday, also died, editor-at-large Francis Matthew told CNN.
And Reuters photojournalist Asmaa Waguih was shot and wounded, the news agency told CNN. She was being treated in a hospital.
'Walking on the blood of the victims'
Ibrahim, the interim interior minister, claimed armed protesters were the aggressors -- including trying to storm police stations, the Ministry of Finance building and other targets in Cairo.
The fighting wasn't limited to the capital. Morsy backers reportedly besieged churches in Sohag, setting fire to Saint George's Church, a tour bus and a police car, EGYNews said.
Naguib Sawiris, an Egyptian billionaire who helped found the anti-Morsy Free Egyptian Party, said his party had video of Muslim Brotherhood members "shooting machine guns on civilians, on police. So anyone who wants to call this a peaceful demonstration would be wrong."
But Ahmed Mustafa, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, told CNN that Sawiris was trying to misrepresent video of masked people with weapons.
Besides claiming they'd been shot at, the Muslim Brotherhood also accused police of throwing Molotov cocktails at makeshift clinics.
Security forces pushed doctors out of one hospital at gunpoint, a witness said, and a CNN crew at one point was "literally walking on the blood of the victims."
Yet Ibrahim said government forces had done what they could to limit casualties, with his ministry insisting, "Egyptian security forces are committed to the utmost self-restraint in dealing with the protesters."
Divisions rife, future uncertain in Egypt
Rather than uniting Egypt after Mubarak's fall, divisions remained rife -- and, in some ways, intensified -- during Morsy's time as president.
Critics accused him of being authoritarian, trying to force the Brotherhood's Islamic agenda, not being inclusive and failing to deliver freedom and justice.
The military coup to dismiss him, they said, was necessary since Morsy didn't fairly represent all Egyptians. So, too, were the efforts to force his supporters off the streets.
"We believe in human rights," said Shehab Wagih, a spokesman for the Free Egyptian Party speaking in favor of the military. "But at the same time, we cannot accept the idea of having a state inside a state."
Morsy's backers, meanwhile, accuse the military -- and the government it appointed -- of undermining the people's will, as expressed at the polls. The deposed president wasn't given a fair chance, they say, and his supporters have been unfairly targeted for expressing their opinion.