US condemns Egypt violence

US condemns Egypt violence

The White House on Monday condemned the unrest shaking Egypt’s fragile peace and called on the country’s leaders to make clear that violence is never acceptable.

“We strongly condemn the recent violence that has taken place in various Egyptian cities,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

“We look to all Egyptians to express themselves peacefully and look to Egyptian leaders to make clear that violence is not acceptable.”

The US statement follows an outbreak of violence in Egypt in which nearly 50 people have died since Friday.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi late Sunday declared a month-long state of emergency in the provinces of Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya, where rioters have attacked and torched police stations.

In a televised address, he also slapped the three provinces with night-time curfews, while urging the opposition — which accuses him of betraying the revolution that brought him to power — to join a national dialogue.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington was looking to Morsi’s government “to bring to justice those who were responsible for deaths and injuries, whether they were sustained by protesters, whether they were sustained by the police.”

“We are watching how the emergency law put in place will be applied, given the very sensitive history of this in Egypt,” she added.

“What’s most important is that the Egyptian government respect the rights of all Egyptians to due process going forward.”

The United States however was “gratified to see the president and his government renew their call for national dialogue to avoid further violence and to find a peaceful way to move forward,” Nuland added.

Egypt’s main opposition bloc however rejected the invitation for talks and instead called for more mass demonstrations.

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Cairo, which was the target of violent demonstrations in September, had been closed early on Monday, and the situation would be reviewed on a daily basis, Nuland added.

“We support peaceful protest, whether you are protesting soccer verdicts or whether you are protesting the basic tenets of your country’s democracy. It’s when protesters turn violent, when governments resort to violence that we have issues of concern here.”

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