Britain slams 'unacceptable' Egyptian clampdown

4th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain said Thursday that the Egyptian clampdown on the Internet, mobile networks and journalists was "unacceptable" as it condemned the "reprehensible" scenes in Cairo.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the reputation of the Egyptian authorities would be severely damaged by continued violence on the country's streets.

"The scenes that we have witnessed over the last 24 hours are reprehensible," Hague said in a statement.

"The authorities have said they will investigate. That investigation must be full and open.

"In addition the abuse of Internet and mobile networks and, in particular, today's increased intimidation and harassment of journalists are unacceptable and disturbing."

Britain is evacuating diplomatic family members and non-essential embassy staff from Egypt amid growing violence in protests against President Hosni Mubarak's rule.

"I am extremely concerned about the potential for further violence," Hague said.

"The world will be watching closely how the Egyptian authorities respond. Their reputation will be severely damaged if we see violence at the levels we have seen recently.

The Egyptian people's right to express their views in public freely must be defended.

"Today's scenes underline further the imperative need for the Egyptian authorities urgently to commit to an orderly transition to a broader-based government that respects the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people."

Egypt's embattled government announced steps Thursday aimed at defusing the bloody revolt, as protesters battled pro-regime militants for control of Cairo's main Tahrir Square and spurned an offer of talks.

© 2011 AFP

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