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Egypt warms up for a decisive day of anti- and pro-Morsi protests

As politicians negotiate under army's 48 hour ultimatum, Islamists gain in number on streets and opposition pours into Tahrir and Palace

Ahram Online, Tuesday 2 Jul 2013
Morsi
Thousands of people gather to support Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Nasr City (L) and A general view of a protest against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, in front of the Ittihadiya presidential palace (R)
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Egypt continues on Tuesday to witness rival protests by both supporters and opponents of Brotherhood-fielded President Mohamed Morsi. 

The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) announced via Facebook that it would hold nationwide marches to support Morsi's presidential legitimacy on Tuesday afternoon.

In Cairo, the protests are expected to take place at El-Hossari Mosque in 6th of October satellite suburb, El-Nahda Square in Giza outside Cairo University, outside Al-Rayan Mosque in the posh suburb Maadi, and in Ain Shams. 

In addition, they will continue their open-ended demonstration at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City, where the Legitimacy Support Alliance, composed of Islamist groups who support the president, has been holding a sit-in. 

The FJP also said they will take to the streets in most Egyptian governorates.

Late on Monday, the embattled president's supporters staged marches nationwide in the wake of a game-changing statement by Egypt's Armed Forces, who gave all political factions 48 hours to resolve the political impasse.

However, continuing to press for President Morsi's resignation, thousands of opponents have arrived in Cairo's central Tahrir Square in preparation for a million-man 'Persistence' rally.

The Rebel campaign, which was the first to call for the 30 June anti-Morsi protests and early elections, is also holding several marches nationwide. In Cairo, the marches will conclude with sit-ins at both Ittihadeya and Al-Qobba presidential palaces.

According to the statement, marches to Al-Qobba Palace are expected to start on Tuesday afternoon from Shubra, Matariya and Masr Sudan Road. 

The march to Ittihadiya Palace in Heliopolis, which has already seen hundreds of thousands of protesters in the past days, is expected to start at Al-Nour Mosque in Abbasiya.

Similarly, the 30 June Front, a newly-formed body of opposition forces led by the Rebel campaign, said it will also head to Al-Qobba Palace, the cabinet building, Tahrir Square, Ittihadiya and the Shura Council (parliament's upper house which is dominated by an Islamist majority).

The front, backed by most opposition movements, has called for an open-ended strike and civil disobedience campaign across Egypt if Morsi doesn't resign by 5pm Tuesday.

On Sunday, millions took to the streets demanding that Morsi step down in protests called for by the Rebel campaign and supported by major opposition groups, including the National Salvation Front (NSF). 

However, events quickly escalated after 16 people died on Sunday in violence between the president's supporters and opponents across the country.

After the Egyptian Armed Forces issued their 48-hour ultimatum on Monday, some tentatively welcomed the move, while others interpreted it as setting the groundwork for a coup.

In response, the Armed Forces declared that coups are not permitted by their military doctrine. 

Nevertheless, many opposition political forces hailed the army's ultimatum and stressed their demand for early presidential elections.

Egypt's presidency revealed late Monday that Morsi had not been briefed on the Armed Forces' statement before it was released. The presidency also said the military statement contained "connotations that could disturb the national scene."

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