Egypt's main opposition has backed calls to oust Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and place him on trial following deadly clashes between protesters and police. More than 60 people have died in nine days of unrest.
The opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) released a statement on Saturday condemning the regime for apparent police abuses during recent nationwide anti-government protests.
The NSF "completely sides with the people and its active forces' calls to topple the authoritarian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood's control."
The statement came a day after footage of police stripping and beating a man, before dragging him into an armored vehicle, was broadcast on live television. The incident took place during clashes between protesters and police outside the presidential palace on Friday evening, which left at least one person dead.
The beating was "an inhumane spectacle ... no less ugly than the killings of martyrs, which is considered a continuation of the security force's program of excessive force," the NSF said.
Egypt's Interior Ministry has since apologized for "the individual act," vowing to those responsible to account.
Violence escalated on Friday when protesters threw petrol bombs and fireworks at the presidential palace, in northeastern Cairo. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons. Earlier that day Morsi had warned that security forces would deal "with the utmost decisiveness to enforce the law and protect state institutions."
Last week saw the worst round of clashes since Morsi was elected in June. Protests began on the eve of the second anniversary of the January 25 revolt that ousted former dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Opposition protesters accuse Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, of tightening the Muslim Brotherhood's hold on power and betraying the aims of the revolution. His Islamist allies, meanwhile, blame the secular opposition of inciting street violence and seeking to overthrow the government.
The worst violence was witnessed in the Suez Canal city of Port Said, which accounted for most of the 60 fatalities. Tensions broke out there when an Egyptian court sentenced 21 local football supporters to death for their role in the killings of 74 people during a riot at a football match last year.
ccp/jm (AFP, dpa)