Egypt on Thursday summoned the ambassadors of several European countries after they signed a joint declaration of concern over Cairo’s sweeping crackdown on dissent.
The military-installed authorities have launched a deadly crackdown on ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement since the army toppled him in July.
The measures have has seen several activists who spearheaded the 2011 revolt against Hosni Mubarak also arrested and put on trial.
Last week, 28 countries — including Britain, France, Germany and Denmark, and the United States — denounced what they said was a “disproportionate use of lethal force by (Egyptian) security forces against demonstrators which resulted in large numbers of deaths and injuries”.
Amnesty International says that since Morsi’s ouster, the crackdown on his supporters has killed more than 1,400 people, while thousands more have been jailed.
Egypt’s foreign ministry delivered “a strongly worded message of protest” to ambassadors of several European nations, said Hazem Seif el-Nasr, who heads the ministry’s European affairs.
It was not clear how many ambassadors were summoned.
The envoys were also informed of “Egypt’s categorical refusal of any attempts at interference in its internal affairs,” Seif el-Nasr said.
He said last week’s declaration had “omitted the steps taken by the state towards democratic transition”.
In January, Egypt adopted a new constitution, and it is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections as part of a transition to democracy.
The joint declaration that was read out at the United Nations Human Rights Council and posted on the website of Denmark’s foreign ministry also expressed “concern about the restrictions on the rights to peaceful assembly, expression and association” in Egypt.
It urged Egyptian authorities to “ensure an environment conducive to inclusive, transparent and credible elections, open to international observation and monitoring.”