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Egypt army says right to protest protected, urges restraint

CAIRO (Reuters) - The Egyptian armed forces said on Thursday they would not take arbitrary measures against any political group and would guarantee the right to protest, as long as demonstrations did not threaten national security.

The statement was posted on Facebook after the arrests of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood following the army's removal of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and ahead of protest rallies that the Brotherhood was planning to hold on Friday.

The United States, which subsidizes Egypt's armed forces, has voiced concerns about human rights and pressed for a rapid return to elected civilian government - though it has stopped short of calling the overthrow of Mursi a "coup."


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