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Egypt’s Premier Says Brotherhood Must Understand ’New Reality’

Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi said the Muslim Brotherhood must reconcile itself to the changes in Egypt, even as supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi called for new protests.

“It’s important for them to understand the new reality,” El-Beblawi, who heads the government the military installed after overthrowing Mursi on July 3, was cited as telling the al-Shorouk newspaper in an interview today. “Some parts of society think the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t genuinely desire reconciliation. Ordinary citizens are afraid of reconciliation with people who were violent and who they think lack good intentions.”

The military-backed government has termed Brotherhood members as terrorists, rounded up its top leadership and on Aug. 14 violently broke up the protest camps they set up in the Cairo area to demand Mursi’s reinstatement. That raid triggered a week of clashes that killed about 1,000 people, including dozens of security personnel.

The daily protests the Brotherhood had called after Mursi was removed petered out after the raid on the camps. A mass rally the group had hoped to mount last weekend failed to mobilize large numbers against the backdrop of the government’s crackdown.

The Brotherhood, determined to try again, called for mass rallies on Aug. 30 against the military.

“Look at the thousands of people killed on our side,” Mohamed el-Beltagi, a senior group member, said in a video statement broadcast on Al-Jazeera television late yesterday. “Our leaders are being arrested at their houses, without even resisting arrest. Is there any terrorist group that doesn’t claim responsibility for any of its acts? This proves the kind of lies and defamation we are facing”

El-Beltagi is to face trial on charges of kidnapping, beating and torturing policemen at the protest camps.

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