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Thursday
Aug012013

Egyptian Government Calls Sit-Ins a 'Threat to National Security'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- Egypt's military-backed government has ordered police in Cairo to end sit-ins by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

In a televised statement, Information Minister Dorreya Sharaf el-Din said, “The cabinet has decided to take all measures necessary to confront these risks and put an end to them."

Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been staging sit-ins ever since Morsi was removed from office on July 3.

The largest sit-ins are located in a square near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, where deadly clashes last Saturday took the lives of some 70 people, and in Nahda Square near the main campus of Cairo University.

El-Din said, “The continuation of the dangerous situation in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares, and consequent terrorism and road blockages, are no longer acceptable given the threat to national security.”

The information minister said the police had been instructed to end the demonstrations "within the law and the constitution.”

An Interior Ministry statement said gradual steps would be taken to end the sit-ins.  The gradual steps, the ministry said, would be a warning to leave the area, use of tear gas if protesters don't leave, and, finally, “legitimate self-defense.”  It did not elaborate.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio