Egyptian interim President Adly Mansour has given the interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi the power to grant the army the right to arrest civilians.
Mansour’s decree was published in the government’s official gazette on Sunday while supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi say they will press ahead with their demands despite the army’s heavy-handed crackdown.
On the same day, Egypt’s National Defense Council warned pro-Morsi protesters that security forces would take “decisive and firm” action if they exceed their rights “to peaceful, responsible expression of their opinions.”
The council’s warning came in a statement published by state news agency MENA. The council includes the interim president, army chief General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the prime minister and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.
Thousands of Morsi supporters packed in front of Cairo’s Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque on Saturday, when at least 150 people were killed and scores of others injured in clashes during rival demonstrations by supporters and opponents of the ousted president across the country.
The casualty figures were released by the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian medical sources.
The clashes on Saturday followed a gathering of Morsi supporters in Cairo’s Nasr City district on Friday. The crowd demanded the reinstatement of the ousted president.
The Muslim Brotherhood says Egyptian security forces are to blame for the killings.
Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said there were “feelings of agony and anger, but also a very strong feeling of determination” in Morsi supporters. They are still camped out at the scene of Saturday’s violence.
“For us, if we die, we meet our creator and we did so for a just cause… Either we die or we succeed,” he added.
On Sunday, three people died in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi in the cities of Port Said and Kafr El-Zayat, a security source reported.
Tension has intensified in Egypt since al-Sisi said on July 3 that Morsi was no longer in office. He also suspended the constitution and dissolved the parliament.
On July 26, a court in Egypt ordered the arrest of the ousted president over a string of accusations, including killing soldiers.
Since his ouster, Morsi, who took office in June 2012, was being held “preventively” by the military.