Bader Abdel Atty, a spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry, has denied accusations that security forces used excessive force when dispersing the sit-in demonstrations and against anti-coup protesters on Friday.

"Public opinion here in this country is blaming the government and the security forces (for) being so soft," he told Al Jazeera in an interview.

Abdel Atty said that al-Qaeda flags had been raised during the protests. He accused demonstrators of firing machine guns at civilians and said that it was the duty of the government to impose law and order.

The deadly crackdown has drawn condemnation from the US, the UN and international human rights bodies.

But Abdel Atty said Egypt was not worried about the criticism, adding that his government "will not accept any interference".

Source: Al Jazeera