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Egypt’s defense council warns protesters of ‘decisive, firm’ action

Published: Updated:

Egypt’s National Defense Council on Sunday warned supporters of ousted President Mohammad Mursi that security forces would take “decisive and firm” action if protesters overstepped their rights.

The council called on protesters “not to exceed their rights to peaceful, responsible expression of their opinions,” warning that they would face “decisive and firm decisions and actions in response to any violations.”

The warning from the council, which includes interim President Adly Mansour, army chief General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the prime minister and interior minister, came in a statement published by state news agency MENA.

The council also called on Mursi loyalists gathered at two sites in Cairo to “immediately announce their clear and categorical rejection of violence in all forms, and the immediate cessation of violence, terrorism and the verbal and physical abuse of citizens.”

The statement comes after 72 Mursi supporters were killed in violence at the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest site in Cairo early on Saturday.

The protesters accused security forces of using live ammunition against unarmed demonstrators, but the interior ministry said forces had fired only tear gas.

On Sunday, the interim presidency said it was “saddened” by the deaths but described Rabaa al-Adawiya as a “terror-originating spot” and said the bloodshed came in the “context of terrorism.”