President Obama: Violence In Egypt “Needs To Stop”

Source: Jake Miller / CBS News

As the death toll from the rising tide of violence in Egypt surpassed 500 on Thursday, President Obama delivered a plea for restraint, urging the interim government to respect the rights of protesters and urging the protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

The president, who is on vacation with his family in Martha’s Vineyard, condemned the army’s violent crackdown on supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi. “The cycle of violence and escalation needs to stop,” he said. “The Egyptian people deserve better than what we’ve seen over the last several days.”

In an effort to force the Egyptian military to soften its approach, the president announced the cancellation of a planned biannual joint military exercise between the armed forces of the United States and Egypt. “While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets,” he said, vowing to take any further steps deemed necessary to stem the bloodshed.

Egypt has been plagued by unrest since widespread demonstrations prompted the Egyptian army to oust the country’s duly elected president, Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Morsi, from power and install a provisional government in July.

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