Germany on Friday called an escalation in political violence in Egypt a "moment of truth" for its fledgling democracy and urged Islamist President Mohamed Morsi to implement reforms.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle underlined that demonstrators had a right to peaceful assembly and urged both sides to refrain from bloodshed after one activist was killed overnight, his spokesman said.
Westerwelle "is deeply concerned about the current escalation in political tensions in Egypt," the spokesman, Andreas Peschke, told reporters.
"This is in his view a key moment of truth for political change in Egypt."
Westerwelle urged all parties to "live up to their responsibilities and prevent any outbreak of violence".
"What Egypt needs above all are reforms so that the economic situation will improve and people have real future prospects," Peschke said. "That must be, in our view, the goal of all political forces in Egypt."
Fears mounted of a bloody showdown between supporters and opponents of Morsi after a demonstrator was killed in the latest violence to cloud the Arab world's most populous democracy.
Islamist groups called on their supporters to camp out indefinitely in a Cairo square Friday two days before a planned protest by the mainly secular opposition to demand Morsi's resignation just a year after he took office.
Rival demonstrators clashed overnight outside offices of the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, on whose platform the president won election last year.
The FJP said on its website that one of its supporters was killed. Thirty people were also wounded, the health ministry said.
Germany, Europe's biggest economic power, has recently stepped up its criticism of crackdowns on civil society in Egypt, most recently slamming a court's sentencing of two staff members of a German non-governmental organisation for working illegally in the country.