Cairo - Egypt's interim leader vowed fresh elections by
early next year after 51 people, mostly supporters of ousted president Mohamed
Morsi, were killed outside Cairo military barracks on Monday.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has led demonstrations
against Wednesday's military overthrow of the Islamist leader, called for an
"uprising," saying troops and police "massacred" its
supporters during dawn prayers in Cairo on Monday.
Amid the widening chasm in the restive country, interim
president Adly Mansour issued a decree setting a timetable for a referendum on
an amended constitution and then for parliamentary elections.
The whole process will take no more than 210 days, according
to the decree, meaning elections by early February at the latest.
Mansour will announce the date for presidential elections
after the new parliament convenes, according to a draft of the 33-article
decree published by the official MENA news agency.
The carnage outside the elite Republican Guards'
headquarters has further delayed Mansour's efforts to name a new prime
minister, as the loose opposition coalition that backed Morsi's ouster lost a
key Islamist party.
The Brotherhood released the names of 42 people killed in
the incident, as the interior ministry and military said two policemen and a
soldier were also killed.
The military blamed "terrorists", while witnesses,
including Brotherhood supporters at the scene, said security forces fired only
warning shots and tear gas, and that "thugs" in civilian clothes
carried out the shootings.
The United States called on the Egyptian army to exercise
"maximum restraint", while also condemning "explicit"
Brotherhood calls to violence.
The Islamist movement's political arm, the Freedom and
Justice Party (FJP), had called for "an uprising by the great people of
Egypt against those trying to steal their revolution with tanks" because
of Monday's killings.
It urged "the international community and international
groups and all the free people of the world to intervene to stop further
massacres... and prevent a new Syria in the Arab world".
In the Suez Canal city of Port Said, gunmen on a motorcycle
opened fire on a church, wounding a man, witnesses said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the latest wave
of bloodshed in Egypt, calling for an independent inquiry.
Amendments to constitution
According to Mansour's decree, a panel representing
political, religious and security services will agree final amendments to the
constitution suspended on Morsi's ouster and put it to referendum within five
Parliamentary elections would be completed in less than
three months after the constitution is ratified.
A senior Muslim Brotherhood official denounced the decree.
"A constitutional decree by a man appointed by putchists... brings the
country back to square one," said Essam al-Erian in a Facebook posting.
White House spokesperson Jay Carney said an immediate
cut-off in military aid to Egypt "would not be in our best
interests", when asked whether Washington was reconsidering the more than
$1bn - mostly military aid- it provides annually.
In response to the "massacre", the conservative
Islamist Al-Nur party, which won almost a quarter of the votes in 2011-2012
parliamentary elections and had backed the army's overthrow of Morsi, said it
was pulling out of talks on a new government.
Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb of the Cairo-based Al-Azhar,
Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, said he would "remain in seclusion"
until the bloodletting ends "and those behind it take
Mansour, a top judge before his appointment as interim
president, had ordered a judicial commission of inquiry into the killings.
Witnesses say Islamists hurled stones at the security forces
who responded with tear gas and live rounds.
"Morsi supporters were praying while the police and
army fired live rounds and tear gas at them," said the Brotherhood.
Emergency services chief Mohammed Sultan told the official
MENA news agency at least 51 people were killed and 435 wounded.