CAIRO: Supporters of Egypt’s ousted president called for new protests on Monday, threatening to deepen the country’s crisis as European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton held talks with the government and opposition.
The Anti-Coup Alliance of Islamist groups organizing protests against the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi urged demonstrators to march on security buildings on Monday night and called a million-man march for Tuesday.
Their statement came after the National Defence Council warned on Sunday that it would take “decisive and firm action” against demonstrators if they went beyond their right to peaceful protest.
Tensions were running high after the deaths of 72 people at a pro-Morsi rally in Cairo on Saturday.
“We . . . call for a million person march under the banner of ‘Martyrs of the Coup’ on Tuesday,” the Anti-Coup Alliance said in a statement.
The group urged Egyptians “to go out into the streets and squares, to regain their freedom and dignity—that are being usurped by the bloody coup—and for the rights of the martyrs assassinated by its bullets.”
It also called for protesters to march on security buildings across Egypt on Monday night “to condemn the criminal acts and the firing of live ammunition by the interior ministry at peaceful demonstrators.”
The calls raised the possibility of fresh confrontations after the National Defence Council warned protesters “not to exceed their rights to peaceful, responsible expression of their opinions.”
The council, which includes the military-installed interim president and the army chief, said demonstrators would face “decisive and firm decisions and actions in response to any violations.”
With tensions rising, Ashton was due to hold discussions with a range of government and opposition figures.
She was expected to meet interim president Adly Mansour and vice president for international affairs Mohamed ElBaradei, as well as members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and the Tamarod group that organized protests calling for his ouster.
In a statement, Ashton said she would be calling for “a fully inclusive transition . . . including the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“I will also repeat my call to end all violence. I deeply deplore the loss of life,” she said.