CAIRO — Egypt’s president delivered a stern warning to his opponents on Sunday, saying he may be close to taking unspecified measures to ‘‘protect this nation’’ two days after supporters of his Muslim Brotherhood and opposition protesters fought street battles in the worst bout of political violence in three months.
Nearly 200 people were hurt in Friday’s violence, some seriously, at the headquarters of the Brotherhood, Egypt’s dominant political group.
‘‘If I have to do what is necessary to protect this nation I will, and I am afraid that I may be close to doing so,’’ a visibly angry Mohammed Morsi said in an animated speech to the opening session of a conference on women’s rights.
‘‘I will do so very, very soon. Sooner than those trying to shake the image of this nation think,’’ said Morsi, who took office in June as the country’s first freely elected president.
While not naming any one opposition group or critic in particular, his comments were the strongest hint to date that he believes the parties and politicians grouped in the National Salvation Front, the main opposition coalition, were directly behind the violence.
He also warned that ‘‘appropriate measures’’ would be taken against politicians found to be behind Friday’s violence. His comments came just hours after dozens of Islamists staged a protest outside studios belonging to independent TV networks that are critical of the Egyptian leader.
The Islamists are protesting what they see as the biased coverage of Friday’s clashes. The Brotherhood says it does not support the protest, but some protesters were chanting slogans supporting Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie.
Friday’s clashes followed an assault by Brotherhood supporters a week earlier on protesters painting derogatory graffiti at the group’s headquarters.