Morsi supporters hold scattered rallies in Cairo
Hundreds protest in city’s smaller streets, dodging major thoroughfares where security forces are deployed in strength
Hundreds of supporters of Mohamed Morsi took to the streets on Friday, holding scattered rallies across the city, in a test of whether the ousted Egyptian president’s allies can keep up the pressure on the government despite the arrest of much of their senior leadership.
Protesters chanted against the military and held up posters of the Muslim Brotherhood-allied president on smaller streets and outside mosques, dodging major thoroughfares and squares where military and security forces were deployed in strength.
The demonstrations come a day after the deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak was released from prison and placed under house arrest in a military hospital in southern Cairo, further aggravating tensions.
Soldiers were deployed around the capital, closing off Tahrir Square to traffic and setting up barbed wire at some of its entrances. Armored vehicles were deployed around the presidential palace and near the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, where Morsi supporters had held a sitin for weeks that was violently dispersed on 14 August, resulting in hundreds of deaths.
Protesters raised yellow stickers showing an open palm with four raised fingers, which has become a symbol for the Rabaah sitin. Others raised posters reading: “Mubarak and his aides acquitted while the Egyptian people are hanged.”
Morsi’s allies sent live-feed video to reporters from the different rally sites, a move designed to make up for the shutting down of a number of Islamist TV stations following his removal.
In one rally outside a mosque in Giza, Mamdouh Mostafa, a 42-year-old accountant, said he was undeterred by the arrests and violence against demonstrators.
“I will keep protesting until our legitimate president comes back,” he said. “Even if this means that we have to die for our cause. And he will come back and resume the Islamic project. We are not afraid of death or thugs or the police or the army.”
Despite the standoff, the country’s interim government pushed ahead with its roadmap for a post-Morsi political transition. A first draft of an amended version of the now-suspended constitution was finalised and published in local media, the first step toward changing the Islamist-backed charter that fuelled opposition to Morsi.