Egypt's interim premier, Hazem El-Beblawi, addressed the Egyptian nation Wednesday evening in what he called "a word from the heart," describing the decision to disperse the two main sit-ins held by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo and Giza as a difficult one.
"As a government, we respect the right of peaceful protesting. But in all countries of the world those, rights are respected as long as there is a respect for others' rights, and this is achieved through a state of law," said El-Beblawi.
"As a state, we reached a level in which we can not accept this method of protesting. Still we gave a chance for reconciliation, and even for international meditation, in order to have democracy in the future. But there was no respect for the right of peaceful protest," said El-Beblawi, adding that Pro-Morsi protesters abused this right by blocking roads and attacking people.
"We respected the feelings of the Egyptians in Ramadan and Eid, but then the state had to intervene in order to restore the security of Egyptians," said El-Beblawi. "The dispersing of the sit-ins had to happen," he added.
During the month of Ramadan, the Cabinet authorised the interior ministry to disperse the pro-Morsi sit-in accordance with the law.
"We demanded the police restrain itself to the maximum level," said the premier, praising the interior ministry.
"The first phase is achieved, but now with the current chaos the state has to intervene with exceptional procedures," he said, referring to the state of emergency imposed for a month starting Wednesday 4pm.
El-Beblawi further stated that the interim government was moving forward in the roadmap and wishes to accomplish the drafting of a constitution that would brings about a state that was neither religious nor military-based.
On Wednesday, the interior minsitry started dispersing the two main pro-Morsi sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City and Al-Nahda Square in Giza. Clashes eruped nationwide leaving at least 149 civilians and, according to the interior ministry, 43 security personnel killed in addition to many more injured.
In addition to clashes at the sit-in venues, confrontations also erupted between pro-Morsi demonstrators and security forces in several governorates around the country. A number of churches and Coptic shops were also torched by Morsi supporters.
Vice President for International Affairs Mohamed ElBaradei resigned following the violence, stating that a political solution could have been reached instead.