Army, Muslim Brotherhood denounce violence in Egypt

A sticker against Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi reading "Leave" is seen next to stones on the ground near the presidential palace in Cairo on 8 December 2012. (Photo: AFP - Gianluigi Guercia)

Published Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood have called for non-violent dialogue on Saturday, after a week of demonstrations and violent clashes between opponents and supporters of President Mohammed Mursi.

Egypt's military urged rival political forces to solve their disputes via dialogue and said the opposite would drag the country into a "dark tunnel," which it would not allow.

A statement issued by the military spokesman and read on state radio and television made no mention of Mursi, but said a solution to the political crisis should not contradict "legitimacy and the rules of democracy."

The spokesman said the military's duty was to protect national interests and secure vital state institutions.

"The armed forces ... realize their responsibility to preserve the higher interests of the country and to secure and protect vital targets, public institutions and the interests of innocent citizens," the statement said.

The Egyptian army has been notorious for its use of torture and violence against citizens during the rule of Hosni Mubarak, as well as during the 16-month period when it assumed power after Mubarak was deposed.

Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohammed Badie says the group's supporters did not initiate the violent clashes this week outside the presidential palace that left at least six people dead.

He urged Egyptians to disown violence, saying that working through the ballot box is the best way to lift the country out of its current political crisis.

But eyewitness reports have cast serious doubts on the alleged peacefulness of Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm reported that several Mursi supporters could be heard bragging about the violence they inflicted on anti-Mursi demonstrators.

(Al-Akhbar, Reuters, AP)

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