Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Egypt says U.S. threats to cut aid won't work

CAIRO — Egypt refused to back down Wednesday in a dispute with the United States over Cairo's crackdown on nonprofit groups despite Washington's threats to cut aid, while the military deployed troops to the nation's streets after a surge in violence and protests against its rule.

Egypt's official MENA news agency said the army was deploying more troops to reinforce the police, restore security and state "prestige." The move comes in the wake of a deadly soccer riot last week that sparked days of clashes between the police and protesters. At least 89 people were killed in a week of violence.

The deployment appeared to be a show of force by the military in response to a surge in criticism of its handling of the country's transition to democracy and rising calls for the ruling generals to step down. There are calls for a general strike on Saturday that have been gaining traction.

Egypt's military rulers are also facing a deepening dispute with the United States over Cairo's campaign against foreign-funded pro-democracy and rights groups, which began late last year with raid by security forces on the organizations' offices. Authorities allege there is a foreign conspiracy against Egypt to explain the widening protests against the military's performance.

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