Panic Grips Egypt As Deadly Clashes Loom

The United States government on Thursday warned citizens to avoid protest sites in Egypt, signalling imminent attacks by the army on pro-Morsi demonstrators camped at several parks in Cairo.
The U.S. embassy said although no date had been given for driving out the supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi, the government had declared, through the media, the intention to clear the protestors.
“As a matter of general practice, U.S. citizens should avoid areas where large gatherings may occur. Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence,” an embassy statement said.
On Wednesday, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry warned of “more bloodshed” in a conflict that has already claimed over 50 lives. In a statement jointly with EU high representative Catherine Ashton, he said the situation had reached a “dangerous stalemate”. The two called on the government in Cairo to take “steps to scale down and ease tensions surrounding the ongoing demonstrations at Raba’a al Adawiya and Nahda Squares; and immediately beginning a process of releasing detained political figures”.
Morsi is being held by the army at a secret location.
Kerry and Ashton said: “The Egyptian government bears a special responsibility to begin this process to ensure the safety and welfare of its citizens. This remains a very fragile situation, which holds not only the risk of more bloodshed and polarisation in Egypt, but also impedes the economic recovery which is so essential for Egypt’s succesful transition.”


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