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France, Germany summon Egyptian ambassadors over bloody protest crackdown

Security forces forcefully remove Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo.
Security forces forcefully remove Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo. Reuters/Asmaa Waguih

The French President, François Hollande, has summoned the Egyptian ambassador after a violent crackdown to break up pro-Morsi protests left more than 520 people dead. There are growing calls for Egypt to restore democracy and end a month-long state of emergency imposed after the crackdown.

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The Egyptian health ministry said 525 people are dead and more than 3,500 were injured after security forces moved to remove Muslim Brotherhood supporters who had been staging protests ever since Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power last month. The flashpoint of the protests had been around the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo's Nasr City.

It is feared the death toll could rise.

Hollande has called for a meeting with the Egyptian ambassador in Paris, Mohamed Moustafa Kamal, “to convey France’s great concern over the tragic events", the presidency said in a statement, adding that France was "committed to finding a political solution and calls for elections to be held as soon as possible."

“The right to peaceful protest must be respected. This right comes with it, of course, the need for protesters to carry themselves in a peaceful manner…Everything must be done to prevent civil war,” Hollande said.

Hollande also called on Egypt to lift a state of emergency imposed after security forces moved in to clear supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, echoing widespread condemnation from the European Union, the United Nations, the United States and other nations.

The state of emergency was lifted in 2011 after former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power.

Germany’s foreign minister Guido Westerwelle has also summoned the Egyptian ambassador in Berlin to express his concerns.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting to discuss the situation in Egypt. Turkey’s President, Abdullah Gül, earlier said the Egyptian security forces’ armed intervention against civilians could bring further chaos to Egypt.

“I would like to recall how the ongoing incidents started in our neighbour [Syria]. Armed intervention on civilians triggered the incidents there,” Gül said.

Egypt has closed “indefinitely” the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, the only gateway into the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory that bypasses Israel.

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