CAIRO, July 31: Egypt’s cabinet on Wednesday ordered a police crackdown on protests by ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s loyalists, as European envoys headed for Cairo to try to ease tensions between the army-installed government and Islamists.

The order to the interior minister raised the prospect of a dangerous showdown just days after 82 people were killed at a pro-Morsi protest in Cairo.

The cabinet’s announcement came in a statement which said that pro-Morsi protest camps at two Cairo squares were posing a “threat to national security”.

“The continuation of the dangerous situation in Rabaa al Adawiya and Nahda squares, and consequent terrorism and road blockages are no longer acceptable given the threat to national security,” it said.

“The government has decided to take all necessary measures to confront and end these dangers, and tasks the interior minister to do all that is necessary in this regard, in accordance with the constitution and law,” the statement said.

The order was met with immediate defiance by the Islamists. “Nothing will change,” said Gehad El Haddad, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman.—AFP

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