CAIRO — 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."

The comments signal a move to break up the two main pro-Morsi protests — one outside a mosque in eastern Cairo and another outside the main Cairo University camps — was imminent.

Morsi was overthrown by the military on July 3 after mass rallies calling for his ouster.

Last week, millions of Egyptians took to the streets to give military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi a mandate to deal with violence and "potential terrorism."