Opponents of Egypt’s first freely elected leader packed streets across the country in their hundreds of thousands on Sunday to show the world his ouster was not a military coup but the reflection of the people’s will, AFP reported.
As more opponents of ousted President Mohammed Mursi flock to Tahrir Square on Sunday, the Egyptian army demonstrated its strength when military planes performed an air show over the protest epicenter in Cairo.
While anti-Mursi protesters were gradually flooding Tahrir Square, the ousted Islamist leader’s supporters massed for rival demonstrations to keep up the pressure on the army for toppling him.
Al Arabiya correspondent said supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Mursi hails, were marching toward the defense ministry. The supporters also attempted to block Salah Salem Street to prevent their opponents from reaching Tahrir Square.
The rallies will raise the stakes as a coalition that backed Mursi’s ouster wavered over the choice of Nobel Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei as interim prime minister to lead the country out of the bloody crisis, AFP reported.
They come two days after demonstrations by tens of thousands of members of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood degenerated into violence that killed 37 people and injured 1,400 across the country.
The Tamarod movement, which engineered mass protests that culminated in the military’s overthrow of Mursi on Wednesday, led calls for people to gather at Tahrir and Ittihadiya presidential palace to “complete the revolution.”
The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party called on Mursi supporters to converge on Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, Cairo University and the Republican Guard headquarters.
The demonstrations, the FJP said, were to support the “legitimacy” of Mursi’s election in June last year and to “reject the military coup” that ousted him.
Meanwhile, in Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria, Mursi’s supporters and opponents also took to the street. The army and police said they secured the protest areas in Alexandria.
On Friday, clashes between opponents and supporters of Mursi flared in Egypt with the heaviest death toll registered in Alexandria.
Mursi’s opponents accuse the Islamist leader of failing the 2011 revolution that ousted autocratic president Hosni Mubarak. They also charged him with corruption as he concentrated power in Islamist hands and letting the economy nosedive.