The United States has expressed concern over the arrest and detention of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including deposed President Mohamed Mursi, who officials say is held at the Republican Guard compound in Cairo.
On Friday State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Mursi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders should be released from detention.
Psaki told reporters “We still continue to view these as politically motivated arrests and still continue to believe that they should be released.”
Islamist supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohamed Mursi, protested in Cairo on Friday after a week of violence in which more than 90 people were killed in a bitterly divided nation.
Nine days after the army toppled Egypt’s first elected leader following a wave of demonstrations against him, Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood is trying to mobilize popular support for his reinstatement, which for now looks like a lost cause.
The start of the Ramadan Muslim fasting month has done little to dampen the Brotherhood protest. Supporters are sheltering in tents from the summer heat during daylight hours when they are forbidden to eat or drink, and coming out in greater numbers in the evening.
Earlier this week, Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered the arrest of Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and other senior Islamists, accusing them of inciting violence on Monday when 53 Mursi supporters and four members of the security forces were killed in a dawn clash near the compound.
Mursi’s supporters say those killed were peacefully praying when fired upon. The army says terrorists provoked the violence by attacking its troops.