GENEVA Dec 6 Egypt's government must protect
peaceful protesters and prosecute anyone inciting violence,
including politicians, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi
Pillay said on Thursday.
"People have the right to protest peacefully and they have
the right not to be killed or injured for doing so," she said.
"The current government came to power on the back of similar
protests and so should be particularly sensitive to the need to
protect protesters' rights to freedom of expression and peaceful
Seven people died in fierce overnight clashes between crowds
for and against Egypt's Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, who
has inflamed the opposition with a decree extending his powers
and - according to Pillay - breaking a key human rights treaty
by putting himself beyond the reach of the law.
Hundreds of Mursi's supporters who had camped out near the
presidential palace overnight withdrew before a mid-afternoon
deadline set by the Republican Guard. Dozens of Mursi's foes
remained, but were kept away by a barbed wire barricade guarded
"The government has a duty to protect peaceful demonstrators
and also to prohibit the use of hate speech and prosecute people
who use it wilfully in order to incite violence, including
politicians, public officials and their supporters," Pillay
She said she was deeply disturbed by reports of journalists
"Several have been injured and one, Mr Al-Hosseiny Abu Deif,
has reportedly died in hospital after receiving a shot to the
head in the early hours of this morning," Pillay added.
"This is not only a devastating tragedy for him and his
family, it is also a chilling blow to freedom of expression in