Egyptian authorities on Monday, Aug 12, postponed a move to disperse two Cairo sit-ins by supporters of the country’s ousted president to “avoid bloodshed,” an official said, as Islamist supporters stepped up rallies to demand his return to power, according to The Associated Press.
The postponement could, at least temporarily, defuse tensions that had escalated overnight as the country braced for a new bout of violence. Any moves by the police against the protesters would have set the stage for deadly clashes with tens of thousands gathered at the two Cairo sit-ins in support of ex-President Mohammed Morsi, ousted in a popularly supported coup on July 3.
An Egyptian security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, said the decision to postpone an advance against the protest camps by Muslim Brotherhood supporters came after a plan on ending the sit-ins was leaked to the media.
The security forces had planned to form cordons around the Cairo protest sites as early as dawn Monday, according to officials who spoke earlier to the AP.
The protesters have said they will not leave until Morsi is reinstated.
Weeks of efforts by the international community to end the standoff and find a peaceful resolution have so far failed. Egypt’s interim prime minister warned just ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday that ended Sunday that the government’s decision to clear the sit-ins was “irreversible.”