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Egyptian President Threatens Stern Steps To Protect Nation

3/25/2013 6:32 AM ET

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday threatened to initiate stern steps to "protect" the nation in the wake of the recent street battles between his political opponents and members of the governing Muslim Brotherhood in several towns and cities.

Morsi's threat came two days after Opposition activists clashed with his supporters as well as riot police outside the Muslim Brotherhood's office in Cairo. At least 200 people were reportedly injured in Friday's violence in the Egyptian capita. Several other Egyptian cities and towns, including Alexandria, witnessed similar clashes. "I am President of all Egyptians and I will not allow anyone to tamper with the nation. If I am obliged to do what is necessary to protect this nation, I will do, and I fear I am about to do that," Morsi said in a statement posted on Twitter on Sunday.

Threatening strong action against those found guilty of inciting Friday's violence, Morsi said: "Some people are using the media to incite violence, and whoever is found involved will not escape punishment. Whoever participates in incitement is a participant in crime."

Stating that Friday's violence were part of failed attempts "to portray the country as a weak State," he called on all political parties "not to provide a political cover for violence, rioting and attacks on private and public property."

The developments came amid unrest, insecurity and a crippling economic crisis in Egypt, which is currently divided between the Islamist parties that came to power in last year's election and the more secular Opposition.

The Opposition accuses Morsi of being autocratic since taking office and his parent Muslim Brotherhood party of pushing through a disputed Constitution. It insists that the new charter favors the Islamists and fails to protect the rights of women and the country's minority Christian community.

Opposition parties and critics of the new Constitution allege that Morsi as well as his Muslim Brotherhood betrayed the 2011 Egyptian revolution by attempting to monopolize power after their electoral victory.

Morsi is the leader of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) — the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was sworn in as Egypt's first civilian and freely-elected President on June 30, 2012.

by RTT Staff Writer

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