Egyptian cleric warns of cycle of bloodshed

View photos
An Egyptian child stands next to poster of the Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi outside Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, where supporters have installed a camp and hold daily rallies at Nasr City, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Egypt's military-backed government has ordered the police to break up the sit-in protests by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, saying they pose an "unacceptable threat" to national security. Information Minister Dorreya Sharaf el-Din said in a televised statement Wednesday that the police are to end the demonstrations "within the law and the constitution." (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

CAIRO (AP) — An influential ultraconservative Egyptian cleric has warned that using violence to break up sit-in protests by supporters of the ousted president will lead to more bloodshed.

The emotional address by a tearful Mohammed Haasan comes as Egyptian authorities have offered "safe passage and protection" for the thousands of protesters if they leave the protest camps in Cairo.

Haasan warned the military that a bloody confrontation would plunge it into conflict with the country's Islamists.

The military ousted the Islamist Mohammed Morsi in a July 3 coup after days of mass protests by millions of Egyptians demanding that he step down. Morsi's supporters have been staging marathon sit-in protests at two locations in Cairo.

Haasan's appeal was aired Thursday by Al-Jazeera.