Egypt's Interior Ministry blames Brotherhood for Cairo violence

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Egypt’s Interior Ministry blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for deadly Cairo clashes on Saturday and denied officers fired live rounds.

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said in a press conference on Saturday that pro-Mursi sit-ins will be “dealt with soon.”

Ibrahim said the procedure will be taken based on a decision by the prosecutor, who has been examining legal complaints by citizens about the protests that have blocked major Cairo thoroughfares.

“God willing, it will be broken up in a way that does not cause losses,” Ibrahim said referring to sit-ins that have lasted about a month. “But, God permitting, it must end. We hope that they come to their senses ... and join their political process.”

“With regards to the timing ... to disperse the protesters, there is complete coordination between us and the armed forces,” the minister told a news conference.

“There are still meetings going on to set the appropriate time to implement that plan according to the complaints submitted to the prosecutor on transgressions of the law by the protesters.”

The minister, who accused the pro-Mursi camp of exaggerating the numbers killed in clashes, said security forces used tear gas to disperse demonstrators on a bridge because of concerns they could cause the bridge to collapse by lighting vehicle tires.

But he said the security forces had not used any live ammunition, but had instead suffered buckshot wounds and injuries from live rounds fired by protesters.

Egypt’s health ministry on Saturday said at least 29 people were killed and 649 wounded in overnight clashes between security forces and supporters of deposed President Mohammed Mursi in Cairo.

The Brotherhood said at least 31 people were killed on Saturday when the security forces attacked a protest by Mursi supporters.

The Islamist movement announced that nationwide protests in support of Mursi would continue on Saturday and Sunday.

The move to continue protesting defies the Egyptian army’s deadline which gives the Muslim Brotherhood until Saturday afternoon to sign up to the country’s military-backed process.

On Friday, hundreds of thousands of pro- and anti-Mursi demonstrators took to the streets of several cities and towns to participate in Egypt’s “No to Terror” rally.

Supporters of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood have been manning two main vigils in the capital for a month, demanding Mursi be reinstated after his July 3 overthrow by the army.

(With Reuters)

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