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Egyptian Ambassador to Washington:
The Muslim Brotherhood
Ignited the Violence

Aug. 15, 2013 (EIRNS)—Muslim brotherhood supporters inside the demonstrations in Cairo were as responsible for the violence as anyone else, Mohamed Tawfik, the Egyptian ambassador in Washington, told NPR interviewer Robert Siegel Aug. 14. Ambassador Tawfik reported that the original police plan was to surround the sit-ins and allow people to leave.

However, "as soon as the police forces were in place, members of the Muslim Brotherhood started shooting at the police and a number of police officers were killed and wounded. And unfortunately, the police had to move in faster than had been originally planned," he said. As for reports of sniper fire into the crowds, Tawfik said:

"There are people who think that it was the Muslim Brotherhood who had the snipers on the tops of roofs, and that's evidenced by the fact that 43 police officers were killed."

When Siegel pressed the Ambassador on why the action was taken, the Ambassador replied:

"The sit-ins, unfortunately, had become a source of criminality. You had people who had been abducted and tortured there, as Amnesty International said. You had reports that there were weapons there, as was — we saw in evidence today. And basically, it was a situation that could not be allowed to continue. In view of the amounts of arms and weapons that were being smuggled into the sit-ins, it became inevitable to take action as soon as possible."

Ambassador Tawfik admitted that the majority of the people in the sit-ins were not armed. But in effect, the unarmed civilians were being used by the Muslim Brotherhood as human shields.

The Ambassador continued:

"We are embarking on a political process. We are inviting everyone to join that process. This, however, does not mean that people are free to break the law—to kidnap people, to torture them — without having any repercussions," .

Egypt, he admitted, does face challenges,

"But the reason why we are in this position is because the Muslim Brotherhood leadership chose to continue down the path of exclusion. They are not willing to join a political process. And they are willing to use their own supporters as human shields."