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Supporters of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi were promised 'safe exit' from protest camps.
Supporters of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi were promised a “safe exit and full protection” if they agreed to end their month-long sit-ins in Cairo Thursday.
The offer from the Interior Ministry came a day after Egypt’s new leadership ordered police to clear two protest camps on the grounds they posed a threat to national security and were terrorizing citizens.
Muslim Brotherhood protesters have been staging sit-ins in Cairo and Giza since Morsi was ousted by the military on July 3.
"The Interior Ministry ... calls on those in the squares of Rabaa el-Adawiya and Nahda to listen to the sound of reason, side with the national interest and quickly leave," Interior Ministry spokesman Hany Abdel-Latif was quoted as saying.
The ministry “pledges a safe exit and full protection to whoever responds to this appeal.”
But protesters show no signs of backing down from their demands for the reinstatement of the deposed Islamist leader.
— AJELive (@AJELive) August 1, 2013
Allaa Mostafa, a spokeswoman for the Anti Coup Alliance, which is organizing demonstrations, told the Agence France-Presse that “we are going to continue our peaceful sit-ins and our peaceful protests.”
The order to clear the sit-ins has raised fears of more bloodshed and international efforts to avoid further violence have gathered pace.
EU Middle East envoy Bernardino Leon and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle are in Cairo to help both sides find a peaceful resolution to the dispute.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking from Pakistan Thursday, said the Egyptian military was "restoring democracy" not taking over. He said the military intervened after millions of Egyptians asked it to, fearing Egypt's descent into violence.
US Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are expected to make a trip next week to talk with Egypt's military leaders.