Egypt's interim president Adli Mansour has unveiled plans for a new constitution and elections to be held within six months. Dozens of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi were killed earlier in the day.
Mansour (pictured above) issued his constitutional declaration Monday after consulting with political groups that backed the military-led overthrow of Morsi last week. The declaration calls for a group of legal experts to begin work on revising the 2012 constitution within 15 days.
The interim president set a timetable for a referendum on an amended constitution and parliamentary elections to be held by the end of January. A date for new presidential elections will be announced after the new parliament convenes.
The news follows what was a bloody day of protests in Egypt. At least 51 people were killed on Monday when the army opened fire on Morsi supporters who were camped outside Cairo's Republican Guard barracks. The army said they fired on the protesters when they attempted to storm the facility, where Morsi is believed to be held.
In response to the violence the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), called for "an uprising by the great people of Egypt against those trying to steal their revolution with tanks."
The FJP urged "the international community and international groups and all the free people of the world to intervene to stop further massacres … and prevent a new Syria in the Arab world."
The ultraconservative Salafist party al-Nour, which backed Morsi's overthrow, said it was withdrawing from talks with Egypt's new leadership on forming a government following Monday's "massacre" at the military facility.
The Health Ministry said 435 people were injured in the incident and the army said it arrested 200 people for questioning. Mansour and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ordered independent investigations into the violence.
"Violence begets violence and should be strongly condemned," leading opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei wrote on Twitter. "Independent investigation [is] a must. Peaceful transition is the only way."
Discussing the violence that has followed the military takeover, EU foreign policy spokesman Michael Mann said the European Union has "no plan to change our aid regime" - but added that "we are keeping our aid to Egypt under constant review, and, depending on the situation on the ground, we can change."
"We condemn and we regret the violence," Mann said on the European Union's behalf. "The most important thing is to return to the democratic process as soon as possible."
The German Foreign Ministry said it was dismayed over the violence and called for a "speedy clarification" by an independent body into the events surrounding the latest killings. The ministry also strongly discouraged travel to Egypt except for the Red Sea and Sinai beaches.
The US, which had been considering whether to continue its annual $1.5 billion (1.2 billion euros) in aid to the country, said Monday that it would not be in the country's best interest "to immediately change our assistance programs to Egypt."
dr/ccp (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)