Egyptian government officials installed as the nation’s temporary leaders gave police officers permission on Thursday to use deadly physical force to defend themselves and protect government facilities from attacks by Muslim Brotherhood members and other supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, a counterterrorism analyst said.
Supporters of the Islamist president, who was ousted by the Egyptian military, had perpetrated arson at two government buildings near Cairo in the latest incidents of violence that followed a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood camps setup for protesters by the group, according to a former NYPD Intelligence Division detective, Michael McDermott.
Minister of the Interior said in a statement that police deadly-force measures are necessary after an angry crowd stormed buildings in Giza, the city next to Cairo that is home to the ancient Pyramids, according to Middle East News Service.
“The ministry has given instruction to all forces to use live ammunition to confront any assaults on institutions or the [police and security] forces,” the statement read.
In addition to torching government buildings, the Islamists set fire to a number of Christian churches and and attacked police stationhouses throughout Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood claimed it was retaliation for the Egyptian police and security forces assaulting a large Cairo protest march in which thousands of Morsi-supporters demanded the duly elected president be returned to power, according to McDermott.
“The fact is that Morsi was elected president by a majority of voters in what was a closely monitored election process. Whether President [Barack] Obama admits it or not, the Egyptian military staged a coup,” said McDermott.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s military-backed government pledged in a statement to confront “terrorist actions and sabotage” allegedly carried out by members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group.
“The Cabinet expressed its determination to confront the terrorist actions and sabotage by elements of the Muslim Brotherhood organization,” it said. “These actions are carried out as part of criminal plan that clearly aims at toppling down the state.”
A number of human rights groups and Christian denominations including the Catholic Church accused Islamists of inciting violence against Christians and accused government officials and police officers of not stopping the Islamists from killing and assaulting members of the vulnerable Coptic minority or arresting the perpetrators.
The Egyptian government has ordered its nationwide “state of emergency and a nighttime curfew” to continue.