Protestors rest at a sit-in around Rab’a al-Adawiya square on July 17, 2013.

© 2013 Reuters

The Egyptian Interior Ministry is threatening to forcibly break up a Muslim Brotherhood sit-in, where protesters are demanding the reinstatement of Mohammed Morsy as president.

I visited Rab’a al-Adawiya in Cairo, where thousands of protesters have been camped out since June 30. Some were wearing helmets and holding sticks. They’re expecting a crackdown by the authorities.

We know based on our work in Egypt over the last two years that when the police try to disperse sit-ins, they consistently use excessive force and kill unarmed protesters – 137people were killed in the past month alone.

We’ve said there should be no forcible dispersal of the sit-in. All it takes is one stone thrown from the protesters for the violence to escalate, and even when the Interior Ministry swears it will only use birdshot, we’ve seen them use live gunfire again and again.