PARIS: Egypt’s military rulers yesterday faced international condemnation over the bloody crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protesters, with France warning of the threat of “civil war” and the UN rights chief demanding an investigation.
More than 500 people were killed in Wednesday’s assaults on two Cairo protest camps of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Mursi, in the country’s worst violence in decades.
The United States led the global outcry against what it termed the “deplorable” violence.
Paris, London, Berlin and Rome summoned Egypt’s ambassadors to voice their strong concern.
UN rights chief Navi Pillay said the death toll points “to an excessive, even extreme, use of force against demonstrators”.
“There must be an independent, impartial, effective and credible investigation of the conduct of the security forces,” she said. “Anyone found guilty of wrongdoing should be held to account.” Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Mursi supporter, called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting over Egypt’s “massacre”.
China was characteristically muted, appealing for “maximum restraint” from all parties, while fellow Security Council permanent member Russia only urged tourists to avoid trips to Egypt.
Only two Gulf states that have cracked down on Islamist groups within their own borders, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, voiced support for the Cairo military leaders.
French President Francois Hollande said “everything must be done to avoid a civil war” in Egypt and called for new elections, while his government conveyed France’s “great concern over the tragic events” to Egypt’s envoy.
Britain also condemned the violence and expressed its “deep concern” to Egypt’s envoy.
Germany, whose Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has called for an end to violence and resumed negotiations, told Egypt’s envoy its position “in no uncertain terms,” said a ministry spokeswoman. Turkey’s Erdogan said “this is a very serious massacre... against the Egyptian people who were only protesting peacefully.” He also criticised the “silence” of the global community in the face of the bloodshed. AFP