Egyptian police vow to use live ammo

Updated: 2013-08-16 11:44


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CAIRO -- The Interior Ministry warned Thursday that the police are going to use live ammunition against any further attacks on public or private properties, amid fresh calls by the Islamists to continue mass protests.

"The interior ministry has instructed all forces to use live ammunition to confront any assaults on the government buildings and police forces," the ministry said in a televised statement.

All the forces protecting governmental institutions were provided with weapons and needed ammunition to counter any attack, it added.

The interior ministry will continue to pursue all the people who participated in any attacks, the statement noted.

The decision comes after the headquarters of Egypt's Giza governorate was stormed and set on fire Thursday by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails.

About 1,040 out of 1,089 artifacts were stolen from Malawi Museum in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya, the country's official news agency MENA said.

The museum witnessed on Wednesday looting acts from Morsi's supporters, who stormed it after attacking the guards, leaving one killed.

At least 67 people have been killed in Minya governorate since Wednesday in clashes between police and pro-Morsi protestors who attempted to storm several police stations.

Supporters of Morsi torched at least seven churches in reprisal attacks as police dispersed demonstrations in Cairo, MENA reported on Thursday.

Culture Minister Saber Arab urged ministry's staffers as well as all intellectuals and artists to protect cultural facilities that represent symbols of enlightenment and creativity.

"Egyptians own these facilities not only for the state," he said in a press conference, warning against vandalism acts to create chaos in the country.

Egypt has been witnessing riots since security forces dispersed on Wednesday two major sits-ins staged in support of Morsi for 54 days in Cairo and Giza.

In a statement, Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Jennifer Welsh, UN Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, condemned the violence by the security forces.

But they also noted "with alarm that a number of Christian churches and institutions have been targeted, including those in the provinces of Assiut, Fayoum, Minya and Sohag, reportedly in retaliation to the incidents in Cairo."

"We call all political and social actors to abandon strategies of confrontation, engage constructively to ensure respect for diversity, and take all possible steps to facilitate peaceful resolution of disputes in the country," they said.

Egypt's Defense Minister Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has ordered the immediate reconstruction of all churches damaged during the violence.

The churches will be rebuilt by the military's engineering department and all expenses will be paid by the Armed Forces, MENA added.

The cabinet has ordered to apply the curfew from 7:00 pm (1700 GMT) to 6:00 am (0400 GMT) after it shortened the curfew for two hours.

The National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy, a pro-Morsi alliance comprising some 30 Islamist parties and movements led by the Muslim Brotherhood, called on Egyptians to take to the streets across the country in a massive march dubbed "Friday of Anger" to protest against the violent dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins by the security forces.

Meanwhile, Tamarod Campaign, the main movement behind the massive protests that toppled Morsi, urged the Egyptians to form vigilante groups on Friday to protect their homes, mosques and churches against terrorism.

Mahmoud Badr told the state-run TV that the campaign is sorry for the ongoing violence and terrorism that occurred in Egypt especially terrorizing Egyptians with fire arms, burning public facilities and attacks by terrorist groups in Sinai.

"What is happening is an organized terrorism not peaceful protest," Badr added.

At least 525 deaths and 3,717 injuries have been reported by Egypt's Health Ministry across the country in clashes between supporters of Morsi and the security troops, after the latter dispersed Wednesday two major pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and Giza.