Egypt's military backed government has made a televised appeal to supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Promising a safe exit from their protest camps, it urged them to rejoin the political process.
"Your continued sit-ins have no legal or political use. You have a safe exit, you will be politically integrated," Interior Ministry spokesman Hany Abdel-Latif said in an announcement on state television, Saturday. "If you think you're protecting yourself by staying with your colleagues, we pledge your safe and secure return to normal life as a free and honest citizen," he said.
But in response, the alliance led by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood called further protests for Sunday. It urged "all Egyptians... to continue their peaceful demonstrations and revolution until the ultimate aims are fulfilled."
The military had threatened to remove the demonstrators by force, but on Friday the interim government said it would only blockade the camps, preventing anyone from joining the demonstrations, but that it would not storm them.
The Interior Ministry is in charge of security forces. It said it had started taking necessary measures to end the sit-in demonstrations in the area of Rabaa al-Adawiya in eastern Cairo and al-Nahda Square, south of the capital.
Thousands of Morsi supporters had gathered in the two camps in the capital demanding the reinstatement of Morsi, who was overthrown by the army a month ago.
Latif also told the protestors they were being manipulated: "You are brain-washed, subject to psychological manipulation. You are being used as a political-bargaining chip," he said. Latif claimed many people wanted to leave but faced threats from the protest leaders. Anyone involved in crimes, including torture, killing and kidnapping, would face prosecution, he said.
jm/rc (dpa, Reuters, AP)