Martha’s Vineyard (MorichesDaily) – President Obama made a statement on the escalating violence in Egypt on Thursday morning.
The President is filling his Martha’s Vineyard vacation with golf, visits to friends’ homes and dinners out with the first lady. And now is scheduled to speak at 10:15 a.m. ET from Martha’s Vineyard, where he is on a week-long vacation.
The remarks were Obama’s first on the crisis since Egyptian military leaders on Wednesday launched a brutal crackdown on supporters of deposed Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi.
President Obama said the United States “deplores” the violence against civilians in the recent Egyptian military crackdown against protests in Cairo.
The President also said that the United States believes the Egyptian government’s “state of emergency should be lifted” and a process of reconciliation must begin.
Obama condemned the violence against civilians and announced the U.S. is canceling next month’s joint U.S.-Egyptian military exercises.
The President stopped short of calling Morsi’s ouster a coup, a move that would require the administration to suspend $1.3 billion in annual military aid.
Reports said more than 500 people died in violent clashes between the military government and Morsi’s Islamist supporters. The Muslim Brotherhood is urging supporters to march, leading to fears the violence could worsen.
The administration on Wednesday quickly condemned the crackdown and the declaration of a state of emergency.
Secretary of State John Kerry called the military’s actions “deplorable” act and warned that it would deal a “serious blow” to democracy.
A defiant Muslim Brotherhood declared Thursday it will not back down against a crackdown by Egypt’s interim government, vowing to “bring down this military coup” as hundreds of protesters stormed a government building in Giza and set a fire at its entrance, state television and witnesses say.
The building, housing the local government in Giza, Cairo’s twin city on the west bank of the Nile River, was evacuated as police arrested several protesters, state television reports.
Witnesses told Reuters that hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters also were marching in Alexandria to protest Wednesday’s clashes between Egyptian security forces and Brotherhood demonstrators, which left more than 500 dead across the country. Protesters were seen carrying pictures of former President Mohammed Morsi and those killed in the violence. A march in Cairo is slated for Thursday afternoon.
“We will always be non-violent and peaceful. We remain strong, defiant and resolved,” Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad wrote on Twitter, according to Reuters. “We will push until we bring down this military coup.”