Egypt’s new leaders warned on Sunday that there would be no compromise with supporters of the deposed former president Mohammed Morsi.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Hazem Beblawi, the country’s new prime minister, dismissed the idea that Mr Morsi could be returned to power, telling his Muslim Brotherhood party there could be “no going back”.
Thousands of Islamists continued to defy the new regime with a sit-in protest at a mosque in Cairo to demand Mr Morsi be reinstated following his overthrow in a military coup earlier this month. They ignored warnings from the interior ministry that the protest would “soon” be dispersed and said the vigil would carry on “regardless”.
When asked whether the government might negotiate over Mr Morsi’s return, Mr Beblawi said: “The declaration of the Muslim Brotherhood is far fetched. In the final analysis we have to agree that there is no going back to the past.”
On Friday night and early Saturday, dozens of Mr Morsi’s supporters died when clashes erupted with security forces in the streets surrounding the Rabaa al-Adawia mosque in eastern Cairo.
At least 72 people died. Witnesses accused the army of using live rounds and snipers of “shooting to kill” the Islamist protesters. Mr Beblawi defended the security forces, describing the clashes as an “unfortunate event”. “I do not doubt what the security forces have explained – that they did not use excessive violence,” Mr Beblawi said.