Islamists hold scattered protests across Egypt

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Supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president held scattered protests across the country on Friday and called off a planned rally at Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, the Associated Press reported.

Since the overthrow of President Mohammed Mursi by mass protests on July 3, Egypt has been gripped by turmoil. The Muslim Brotherhood supporters, calling for Mursi’s reinstatement, organized almost daily protests in the streets since the toppling of the Islamist leader.

An Islamist alliance, meanwhile, urged its supporters to stay away from Cairo’s Tahrir Square during protests Friday to avoid more bloodshed after a week in which nearly 80 Egyptians were killed.

The alliance, which demands bringing Mursi back to power, called “for marchers to evade places of bloodshed, be it Tahrir or other squares,” Agence France-Presse quoted its statement as saying.

The alliance said its appeal follows calls made by several intellectuals and political forces as marches to the iconic square “will lead to more bloodshed.”

The alliance had repeatedly called on its supporters to march on Friday towards Tahrir, the main symbol of the Arab Spring-inspired uprising that toppled former strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

“We are just limiting our marches” on Friday, the alliance said, adding it “preserves the right to protest in all squares including Tahrir, Rabaa and Nahda in the coming weeks.”

Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares were sites of a brutal crackdown by security forces on Mursi’s supporters on August 14. Hundreds of people were killed in some of the worst carnage in Egypt's modern history.

Since the bloody August 14 crackdown, more than 1,000 people have been killed across Egypt, while more than 2,000, mostly Islamists, have been detained.

The interior ministry, meanwhile, warned the Islamists that it will “confront any attempts to break the legitimacy” of the interim government.

In the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria on Friday, police fired tear gas to break up clashes between Mursi’s opponents and supporters, Reuters reported security sources as saying.

(With Associated Press, Reuters and AFP)

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