Middle East

Egypt: Morsi loyalists vow to keep up 'peaceful' protest

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Media captionThe BBC's Jim Muir says entire families living in a makeshift camp in Cairo won't leave until Morsi is reinstated

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has pledged to continue its "peaceful" resistance to the army's removal of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last week.

Supporters demanding Mr Morsi's reinstatement have been staging mass protests in Cairo near a barracks where he is believed to be held.

The Muslim Brotherhood statement comes a day after warrants were issued for the arrest of other senior figures.

The UN secretary-general has voiced concern at the arrests and detentions.

Ban Ki-moon "made clear that there is no place for retribution or for the exclusion of any major party or community in Egypt," in a telephone call with Egypt's Foreign Minister Kamel Amr on Thursday.

On Monday, more than 50 Morsi loyalists were killed in clashes with the army.

Mr Morsi's removal - a year after he was elected - followed protests by millions of people across Egypt.

In other developments, US officials said Washington would press on with plans to deliver four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in the next few weeks despite the political unrest in the country.

The Obama administration is continuing to evaluate the events which happened in Egypt last week.

Massive US military aid to Cairo would legally have to be cut if the removal of the Islamist leader is determined by Washington to have been a coup.


"We will continue our peaceful resistance to the bloody military coup against constitutional legitimacy,'' said a statement issued on the Muslim Brotherhood's official website on Thursday.

Image caption Mohammed Morsi was deposed on 3 July, a year after his election

"We trust that the peaceful and popular will of the people shall triumph over force and oppression.''

The new authorities have not specified where Mr Morsi is, but a foreign ministry spokesman said he was in a "safe place" and being treated in a "very dignified manner".

On Wednesday, arrest warrants were issued for the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, and nine other senior figures.

They are charged with inciting Monday's deadly violence in the capital, in which more than 50 Brotherhood supporters, a soldier and two policemen died.

The Brotherhood says the army fired on peaceful demonstrators and it is accusing the interim authorities of a cover up.

The military, however, says soldiers acted in self-defence after being attacked by armed assailants.

Many Brotherhood members are already in detention and warrants are said to have been issued for hundreds more.

Correspondents say the new warrants could scupper any attempts to persuade the Brotherhood - banned for decades under former President Hosni Mubarak - to participate in the transitional political process.

The timetable for new elections was announced in a constitutional declaration by interim President Adly Mansour on Monday evening. It laid out plans to set up a panel to amend the suspended constitution within 15 days.

The changes would then be put to a referendum - to be organised within four months - which would pave the way for parliamentary elections, possibly in early 2014.

Once the new parliament convenes, elections will be called to appoint a new president.

The Brotherhood has rejected the transition plan, and its political wing - the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) - has said it will turn down a post in the cabinet being formed by the interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi.

Mr Beblawi said on Thursday that he had still not ruled out offering posts to the FJP.

"I don't look at political association," he told the AFP news agency.

"I'm taking two criteria for the next government. Efficiency and credibility."

The main liberal opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front (NSF), and the grassroots Tamarod protest movement, which co-ordinated the anti-Morsi protests, said they were not consulted on the constitutional decree and have concerns about it.