Egypt premier threatens crackdown

Supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi help comrades with their helmets during a demonstration in support of Morsi in Cairo, on August 9.
CAIRO - Islamist supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi rallied in their thousands for his reinstatement on Friday as the interim premier suggested a crackdown on their protest camps was imminent.
Protesters flooded streets in central Cairo and in the second city Alexandria, carrying pictures of the deposed leader and chanting against the military coup that ousted Morsi on July 3.
In the oasis town of Fayyum, south of Cairo, Morsi loyalists clashed with police who fired tear gas to disperse them, security officials told AFP. 
The government has said it held off from breaking up the Islamists' protest camps in Cairo out of respect for the holy month of Ramadaan, which ended on Wednesday night, and to give foreign mediators a chance to end the deadlock peacefully.
With the failure of the mediation, the country is bracing for an increasingly inevitable confrontation between the army-installed government and Morsi's loyalists demanding his reinstatement.
"The government wants to give the protesters, especially the reasonable ones among them, a chance to reconcile and heed the voice of reason," said prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi.
But he warned, in a statement late Thursday, "that the situation is approaching the moment we would rather avoid".


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