Crackdown Alert: Egypt orders police to ‘put an end’ to Cairo sit-in

Calling the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in protests in Cairo a threat to national security, Egypt’s interim government announced it has ordered police to stop them.

Thousands of supporters of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi have been staging sit-ins in the capital since Morsi was ousted by the military July 3.

Clashes on July 27 between Morsi supporters and security forces in a square near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque resulted in at least 80 supporters being shot dead, the second mass killing of protesters since the sit-ins began.

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

"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," he added.

El-Din said the police have been ordered to end the demonstrations "within the framework of the constitution and the law.”

Following the announcement, the US State Department urged Egypt's government to respect the rights of its citizens.

"We have continued to urge the interim government to respect the right of peaceful assembly," deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said, according to Reuters. "That obviously includes sit-ins."

Three top Muslim Brotherhood leaders were also referred to trial on charges of inciting violence, including the killing of protesters, last month. The leaders include fugitive Mohammed Badie, deputy Khairat el-Shater and Rashad Bayoumi.