Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi said on Thursday he will not tolerate killings or sabotage but will respect free speech, AFP reported.
The comments were made in a live address to the nation after bloody clashes broke out between Morsi’s supporters and opponents.
“We respect peaceful freedom of speech but will never allow anyone to take part in killings and sabotage,” he said in the speech which came amid the worst political crisis since his election in June.
On Thursday medics reported seven people had died in overnight clashes between Morsi supporters and secular-leaning opponents outside the presidential palace.
The military set up a barbed wire barrier 150 meters from the palace, after ordering Morsi allies and foes alike to pull back, an AFP reporter said.
The anti-Morsi camp is furious with the president for his assuming sweeping powers two weeks ago and by what it feels was the railroading through by an Islamist-dominated panel of a draft constitution.
Pro- and anti-Morsi activists armed with sticks, guns, fire bombs and rocks clashed with each other through the night.
“It’s the beginning of a religious state,” Sahar Ali, a 39-year-old tour guide and Morsi opponent told AFP earlier on Thursday.
“They’re trying to turn it into Iran, but we won’t let this happen. We got rid of the military — the Brotherhood is next.” That was a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, from whose ranks Morsi was elected president.