Clear up workers moved in to the burned- out remains of the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest encampment in Cairo on Thursday (August 15) after a security operation on Wednesday (August 14) against supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi lead to country-wide violence that left hundreds dead.

The death toll from the violence had climbed to 500, the health ministry said on Thursday.

The unrest erupted on Wednesday after security forces broke up the two Cairo protest camps set up by supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood said on Thursday (August 15) it would bring down the "military coup" but stressed it remained committed to a peaceful struggle, despite the heavy loss of life when government forces broke up its protest camps.

The crackdown on Wednesday defied Western appeals for restraint and a peaceful, negotiated settlement to Egypt's political crisis following the military's removal of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last month, prompting international statements of dismay and condemnation.

Security forces struggled to clamp a lid on Egypt after the worst nation-wide bloodshed in decades, although a curfew largely held in Cairo overnight.

Rabaa al-Adawiya on Thursday morning was a mess of rubble, burned out cars, strewn clothing and the remains of the crushed tented encampment where thousands of pro-Morsi supporters had defiantly protested against the military led-government for six weeks.

Garbage collectors cleared the still-smouldering piles of burnt tents as soldiers dismantled the stage at the heart of the protest camp.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood said the true death toll was far higher, with a spokesman saying 2,000 people had been killed in a "massacre". It was impossible to verify the figures independently given the extent of the violence.

The military-installed government declared a month-long state of emergency and imposed the dusk-to-dawn curfew on Cairo and 10 other provinces, restoring to the army powers of arrest and indefinite detention it held for decades until the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in a 2011 popular uprising.

Presented by Adam Justice

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