Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters of the deposed Islamist President Mohammad Mursi have on Saturday threatened to descend on Tahrir Square opposition sit-ins, in retaliation to warnings from the Egyptian government that their protests will be broken up by force.
At the start of the month, authorities warned protesters of a move to break up the protest camp in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, where Mursi supporters have been camped since his ouster on July 3, demanding his reinstatement.
An Al Arabiya correspondent reported on Saturday that members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Mursi hails from, would move to retaliate in response to the threats, possibly heading to Tahrir Square, where oppositional protests and sit-ins are taking place.
Meanwhile, Mursi supporters called for more rallies on Sunday to demand his reinstatement, amid last ditch efforts for reconciliation ahead of a threatened crackdown on protests.
The Anti-Coup Alliance said 10 marches would take off from various parts of the capital "to defend the electoral legitimacy" of Egypt's first freely elected President Mursi, ousted by the military on July 3, according to AFP.
His supporters, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, have kept up two huge protest camps in Cairo and said nothing short of his reinstatement will persuade them to disperse.
The Egyptian government has reportedly set out a plan to break up rallies in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, according to information obtained by pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat on Saturday.
A government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the newspaper, said the Egyptian government has held several recent meetings in which the issue of Rabaa al-Adawiya was “discussed in a transparent and responsible way.”
“Breaking up the rallies by force will cause approximately 3,000 to 5,000 deaths,” the source said, adding “this large number of casualties will put us in an awkward position, and we do not want to have economic problems with the world.”
“We have decided to adopt an alternative plan,” where protesters who “leave rallies at Rabaa Al-Adawiya will not be allowed to return,” the source said.
The plan also consists of “blocking food supplies to protesters, as well as cutting off water and electricity in the square where the protesters are.”
Water and tear gas will be used to disperse protesters, the source said, adding that the operation will be finalized “within a three-month deadline.”