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Egypt Warns Of Wider Crackdown On Protesters

A general view shows brick barricades erected by protesters along Nasr City's main street in eastern Cairo on Sunday.
Fayez Nureldine
AFP/Getty Images
A general view shows brick barricades erected by protesters along Nasr City's main street in eastern Cairo on Sunday.

Egypt is ramping up threats of a wider crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who have refused to end a sit-in a day after at least 80 anti-government protesters were killed in two cities in street clashes with security forces.

In a speech on Sunday, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim told graduating police cadets that Morsi supporters gathered in and around Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque and Nahda Square near the main campus of Cairo University would be dispersed.

"I assure the people of Egypt that the police are determined to maintain security and safety to their nation and are capable of doing so," Ibrahim said. "We will very decisively deal with any attempt to undermine stability."

But pro-Morsi Muslim Brotherhood speakers at Rabaa al-Adawiya have vowed to defy orders from security forces to vacate the area.

Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gerhad el-Haddad tells the BBC that "hundreds of thousands of men, women and children" were engaged in peaceful protest around the mosque and that "Our numbers are increasing every day."

"Citizens are recognizing the tyranny and the long-term danger of the military coup," he said, referring to the July 3 ouster of Morsi that installed army Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

Ibrahim, who had been appointed by Morsi, nonetheless accused pro-Morsi supporters of provoking the violence.

He said that nine bodies, some of them showing signs of torture, had been found near the encampments recently, apparently killed by protesters who believed them to be spies.

"Soon we will deal with both sit-ins," Ibrahim said.

The Associated Press reports that Dr. Khaled el-Khateeb, of head of the Health Ministry's emergency and intensive care department, says 72 people were killed in clashes in Cairo and eight in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria over the weekend.

A total of 792 people were wounded in both incidents, which spanned Friday and early Saturday, he said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

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