Thousands rally in Egypt ahead of Mursi’s trial

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Thousands of supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi demonstrated nationwide on Friday against the military-backed government ahead of his planned trial on Nov. 4.

In Alexandria, where opposition outrage grew after the arrest of 21 girls taking part in a demonstration on Thursday, clashes erupted between anti and pro-military protesters, Al Arabiya television reported.

Security and military forces were deployed in Sidi Bishr area to contain the clashes and disperse protesters. More than 40 people were arrested, Al Arabiya reporter said.

In Cairo thousands demonstrated after Friday’s prayer in the districts of Maadai, Giza, Shubra and other areas.
Fighting also erupted in the Gisr al-Suez district of Cairo, according to Reuters.

In the Nile Delta city of Zaqaziq, five people were wounded when pro-Mursi protesters clashed with civilian opponents, the official MENA news agency reported, AFP reported.

Demonstrators chanted slogans against the Egyptian army and the security forces, Mohamad Kamal, Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

Mursi is due to stand trial on Monday over the killings of protesters outside the presidential palace in Cairo’s Etihadeya in December 2012.

He is also being investigated over his escape from jail during the 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak.

Interior ministry officials say 20,000 policemen will be deployed that day to guard the south Cairo police academy hosting the trial and to secure Morsi’s transport to the makeshift court room, according to AFP.

“The mass rally on Monday... should be outside the (Police Officers’ Academy) building in Tora,” the Anti-Coup Coalition, which is led by Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, said in a statement.

Mursi, held at a secret location since the military overthrew him on July 3, is charged with inciting the murder of protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

He is to be tried along with 14 other defendants.

The Islamist’s supporters have been battered by a police crackdown since his ouster. About 1,000 people have been killed in clashes and more than 2,000 arrested.

The campaign of arrests of Islamists has left much of their leadership in jail and restricted their ability to organize mass protests.

(With AFP and Reuters)