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UN rights chief urges end to Egypt violence

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called Sunday for an end to the violence [press release] in Egypt. Supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and former president Mohamed Morsi [JURIST news archive] refused to clear the streets on Sunday despite mass killings by Egyptian security forces. Egypt's ambulance service reported that 72 people were killed [Reuters report] during violent outbreaks at a vigil on Saturday that was supported by the Muslim Brotherhood. Members of the Brotherhood claim that the military is committing violent massacres in an attempt to return to the era of the corrupt, murderous security and intelligence state. The country's Interior Ministry, however has denied reports that police opened fire on the crowds and a prosecutor has launched an investigation into the incidents. These increased tensions come just weeks after Egyptian authorities ordered the arrest [JURIST report] of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohammed Badie.

Although Egypt has faced political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began over two years ago, the conflict peaked this month in the wake of new developments. The country's Interior Minister announced on Saturday that supporters of Morsi would be dispersed "as soon as possible." That same day, the UN urged the Egyptian government to ensure the application of law and order and to promote safety and security in dealing with protesters. The country's interim government also caused controversy earlier this month when it shut down [JURIST report] four Islamist-run television stations that it viewed as sympathetic to Morsi and his supporters. The country's government is currently being headed Chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, Adly Mansour [BBC profile], who took the oath [JURIST report] to become the interim head of state days after the Egyptian military deposed [JURIST report] Morsi and suspended the nation's constitution in early July.

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