Egypt’s Mursi would ‘die in defense of democracy,’ says spokesman

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It would be better for Egypt’s embattled President Mohammed Mursi to die in defense of democracy than be blamed by history, a statement from his spokesman said on Wednesday.

Facing an increasingly angry tide of protests and opposition demands to hand over power, Ayman Ali told Reuters news agency that, in Mursi’s overnight speech to the nation, the president had defied calls to resign in order to "defend the democratic system".

"It is better for a president, who would otherwise be returning Egypt to the days of dictatorship, from which God and the will of the people has saved us, to die standing like a tree," Ali said, "Rather than be condemned by history and future generations for throwing away the hopes of Egyptians for establishing a democratic life."

The statement came amid warnings from Egypt’s interior ministry that it will respond firmly to any violence, in a statement issued about two hours before the expiry of an army deadline for Mursi to "meet the demands of the people" in the face of mass protests.

The ministry said police would "protect" people and act to “side by side with the army” to prevent further bloodshed, after violence that has claimed 47 lives in Egypt since rival demonstrators took to the streets on June 26.

(With Reuters)

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