About the violence against Christians and others by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood the White House was silent.
The White House condemned the Egyptian military’s bloody weekend crackdown on demonstrators on Monday but took no immediate steps to suspend US military assistance to Egypt.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the crackdown, in which 80 people were gunned down in Cairo, sets back the process of democratization in Egypt and does not square with the interim government’s pledge to swiftly return to civilian rule.
But asked if the violence would prompt the United States to suspend aid to Egypt’s military, Earnest said: “I don’t have any change in our posture to report to you today.”
He said aid is under review, as it has been since Egypt’s military takeover on July 3.
Europe’s top diplomat shuttled between Egypt’s rulers and the Muslim Brotherhood on Monday in an urgent mission to pull the country back from more bloodshed, but both sides were defiant and unyielding after the violence of this past weekend.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, making her second visit in 12 days as one of the few outsiders still able to speak to both sides, made no public comment. Supporters and opponents of Morsi left no doubt about the depth of polarization in the Arab world’s most populous nation.
“It’s very simple, we are not going anywhere,” said Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad, making clear the group intends to defy government orders to abandon a protest vigil of thousands of followers demanding Morsi’s return.
“We are going to increase the protest,” he told Reuters. “Someone has to put sense into this leadership.”
Backers of the military that deposed Morsi on July 3 were equally unbending, despite Saturday’s dawn carnage when security forces shot dead at least 80 Brotherhood supporters after a day of rival mass rallies.
“We asked her (Ashton), would you accept an armed sit-in under your roof?” said Mahmoud Badr, a leader of the Tamarud youth movement that mobilized huge protests against Morsi before the army moved against him.
“What if al Qaeda had a sit-in in a European country? Would you leave it be?” he asked reporters after meeting Ashton, echoing the army’s branding of its opponents as terrorists.
Raising the prospect of more bloodshed erupting during Ashton’s visit, the Brotherhood said it would march again on Monday evening from its month-old vigil at a mosque in northern Cairo towards offices of the Interior Ministry.
The violence has raised global anxiety that the army may move to crush the Brotherhood, a movement which emerged from decades in the shadows to win power in elections after Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising against Hosni Mubarak.
Ashton met General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the army and the man behind the overthrow of Egypt’s first freely-elected president. She also held talks with members of the interim government installed by the army, and representatives of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political wing.
Thousands of Brotherhood supporters have been camped out for a month at Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, demanding Morsi’s reinstatement and defying threats by the army-backed authorities to remove them….
Morsi has been in detention since he was ousted and the military-backed interim government has placed him under investigation on charges that include murder.
The handling of his case by the military suggests it believes it has the support of a big majority of Egyptians.
Army chief Sisi has emerged as the public face of the new order, enjoying fawning coverage in Egyptian media and sowing doubts about the military’s promise to hand over to full civilian rule with a “road map” to parliamentary elections in about six months.
A banner stretched across a road in downtown Cairo declared: “The army, the police, and the people – one hand.”
Security forces shot dead dozens of Morsi supporters at dawn on Saturday when they marched from their vigil. The Health Ministry put the death toll on Monday at 80, up from 72. The Interior Ministry said one police officer had succumbed to his wounds on Monday. Nearly 300 people have died in violence since Sisi deposed Morsi….
Saturday’s bloodshed was the worst since July 8, when security forces killed more than 50 Brotherhood supporters outside a Cairo barracks. The army said its forces had fired back after being attacked; the Brotherhood said its partisans were praying….