France regrets Egypt demo deaths

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France regrets the loss of life in Egyptian anti-government protests and supports calls for more democracy "in all countries," Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said Wednesday.

"I can only deplore that there were deaths, two among the demonstrators, one among the police," the minister told France's RTL radio.

"One must be able to demonstrate without there being violence, let alone deaths," she added.

Tuesday's demonstrations, dubbed "the day of anger" and inspired by the uprising in Tunisia, left two protesters and one policeman dead.

"It is not about France interfering," Alliot-Marie added, but "our principles are the principles of the rule of law, of non-interference but also an appeal for more democracy and freedom in all states."

Alliot-Marie was in Egypt on Saturday as part of a tour of the region, where she met President Hosni Mubarak.

Asked about the parallels with Tunisia, where a popular uprising has forced president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power after 23 years, she said "situations are different in every country".

France was criticised for keeping officially silent during protests that led to Ali's ovethrow and Alliot-Marie came under pressure to resign after revelations that she had offered French support to the regime's police attempting to control the riots.

© 2011 AFP

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