- Middle East/North Africa
Interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawy has stressed that supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy and his opponents will both be dealt with the same under the law, ahead of huge protests planned by both sides for Friday.
While Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a controversial call for protests on Friday to give the army a popular “mandate” to fight terrorism, Morsy’s Islamist backers have planned at least 30 protests against what they call a military coup that toppled the elected president.
Beblawy, who formed the first post-Morsy cabinet two weeks ago, said during a Thursday press conference that the state “is responsible for all of its sons, either at Rabea al-Adaweya or Tahrir [Square]," adding that demonstrators on both sides are “Egyptians who enjoy the same rights."
He also backed Sisi’s call for demonstrations in support of the army.
The prime minister stressed that the state protects the right to peaceful protest in Egypt.
“There has been a qualitative change, weapons are found among protesters, assaults are carried out against police, bombs are thrown at police stations”, he said. “If protesters at Tahrir or Rabea breach [the peace], the law will be applied."
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm