Will not allow violence: Egypt military
Egypt's powerful military has said it would not permit events to take a "disastrous" turn in the country torn over President Mohammed Morsi's move to assume new sweeping powers, and demanded that the parties involved resort to dialogue.
"The path of dialogue is the best and only way to reach agreement and achieve the interests of the nation and its citizens," said the military in a statement released on Saturday.
"The opposite of that will take us into a dark tunnel with disastrous results," said the statement that came as demonstrators fenced off an administrative building in Tahrir Square.
The call from the army also followed reports by a local newspaper that Morsi would soon authorise the armed forces to help police keep order.
The army has already deployed tanks outside the presidential palace to prevent further bloodshed, underscoring the seriousness of the crisis pitting Morsi and his Islamist backers against the largely secular opposition.
"The military establishment stands always with the great Egyptian people and insists on its unity," the miliatry statement said.
"We confirm that we support national dialogue and the path of democracy... to bring together all factions in the country," it added.
Egyptian opposition leaders had rejected calls by Morsi to enter a dialogue to resolve the political crisis while he pledged to forge on with a controversial constitutional referendum process.
Tensions had flared and clashes broke out in Egypt late last month between supporters and opponents of President Morsi after he decided to give himself near-absolute powers that critics said were even more sweeping than ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak.