Egypt's Brotherhood will not take up arms: Senior leader

CAIRO (REUTERS) - Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood will not take up arms after the military overthrew its member Mohamed Mursi as president but it will not accept a military coup, a senior leader said on Thursday.

"This is a military coup. We will remain and deprive it of legitimacy until it is corrected," Mr Mohamed El-Beltagy told reporters at a pro-Mursi sit-in outside a mosque in Cairo.

Asked if the Brotherhood might take up arms, he said: "No. That is unlikely."

However, the military overthrow of elected president Mursi could push other groups to violent resistance, he said.

“The issue is not with Brothers being in or out of prison. The Brothers have lived in prisons for ages,” he added.

“The issue now is the position of the free world that is pushing the country to a state of chaos and pushing groups other than the Brotherhood to return to the idea of change by force,”he said.

The 85-year-old movement, long suppressed during years of military-backed rule, renounced violence decades ago.

In a rejection of feelers from the newly sworn-in head of state Adly Mansour, the Brotherhood said will not work with “the usurper authorities”, according to a member of its executive board.

“We reject participation in any work with the usurper authorities,” Sheikh Abdel Rahman al-Barr said in a statement published on the group’s website.

“We call on protesters to show self restraint and stay peaceful. We reject the oppressive, police state practices: killing, arrests, curbing media freedom and closing TV channels.”