The alleged killing of Mohammed Morsi's supporters is a dangerous move by the army and raises the spectre of full-blooded conflict in an Egyptian nation that played host to a revolution only two years ago.
Egypt's military rulers took a huge gamble when they seized power from Mr Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president, in a coup earlier this month.
It left a nation divided. But rather than try to reconcile those who remained loyal to the deposed Muslim Brotherhood leader, Saturday's ruthless violence shows the army has chosen to play by its old rule book when it comes to handling Egypt's Islamists.
Egypt however, has changed since the days before the Arab Spring, when Hosni Mubarak held like a vice like grip on power, and this latest use of brute force by the army risks triggering much worse bloodshed.
A likely scenario now is that General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the armed forces, tries to suppress the Brotherhood completely and then sets about organising democratic elections without their involvement.
With the military's long experience of repressing Islamic parties, he appears to think this is possible. Many western and Gulf Arab nations would support such a move.
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