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19:25 “These are the biggest protests in Egypt since 28 January 2011 and the spirit is the same,” April 6 founder Ahmed Maher tells Ahram Online.
“The big difference between now and then is that when we first went out in January 2011 we did not start by calling for the toppling of the president but now we have a clear demand: we want the president to leave.”
For Maher the challenge now is to keep the momentum going until their demands are achieved.
“We don't think this will be difficult because all (opposition) forces have been preparing for a long term sit-in. If the Brotherhood and their president think we will get tired or bored they are simply wrong.”
19:15 Back in the capital, Rebel campaigners – the main force behind today's opposition rallies – tell Ahram Online's Bassem Abo El-Abbas that electricity has been cut from their stage outside the presidential palace, where tens of thousands of anti-Morsi protesters are gathering.
19:10 Moving north to the Nile Delta’s flashpoint city of Mansoura, thousands of protesters continue to flock towards the iconic Al-Shaheed Square from several rallying points. "Go, go, you’re two-faced; you've divided the people in two!" chant protesters.
Leading Middle East urologist Mohamed Ghoneim is among the protesters in another mass march in the city.
19:00 Down south in Minya, Upper Egypt two people are injured after unknown assailants throw a bomb from a building at protesters passing along Hosseiny Street, Al-Ahram Arabic new website reports.
18:55 Ahmed Fathi, a protester at the packed Sidi Gaber Square in Alexandria, tells Ahram Online's Yasmine Fathi that he voted for Morsi in last year’s presidential elections, but stopped supporting Morsi after the latter issued a controversial constitutional decree last November.
"I realised that he is a dictator and we did not remove a dictator to bring another dictator," says Fathi, who adds that he will not be joining the sit-in but will come to the protests every day until its demands are met.
18:55 Around 26 alleged members of Islamist groups are arrested by security forces at an apartment in Cairo's Moqattam district for possessing weapons, including knives, helmets and bulletproof vests, MENA reports.
MENA also reports that three were arrested in the vicinity of the presidential palace for possessing bladed weapons and firearms.
18:50 In Beheira, thousands demonstrate in Damanhour Square demanding early presidential elections. The protesters carry police officers on their shoulders, chanting “Here are all the Egyptian people.” Protesters use drums to accompany their chants against the Muslim Brotherhood.
18:50 Prominent activist Nawara Negm speaks to Ahram Online, describing today’s protests as bigger than those of 25 January 2011. She believes they are even bigger than the 28 January 2011 protests against ousted president Hosni Mubarak, because these were mainly concentrated in the capital, while today they are all over Egypt. She compares it to the day when Mubarak was forced to step down on 11 February 2011.
18:50 Back in Alexandria, Ahram Online’s Yasmine Fathi, reporting from the vicinity of Sidi Gaber Station, says its “packed, people cannot move.” Thousands upon thousands are still flowing into the area. A stage has been set up and a sit-in has been declared. Tents are already being set-up in preparation.
18:45 Hundreds of anti-Morsi protesters gather in Juhayna Square in Cairo's Six of October City, reports Ahram Online's Lina El-Wardani. "Among the demonstrators are a number of women wearing head and face veils bringing their children with them," she reports. Most protesters are waving Egyptian flags."
18:45 The 30 June Front issues a statement sending a message of “respect and pride” in the Egyptian people who are “resuming the January 2011 revolution” and putting it on the right path again "after a year of Muslim Brotherhood failure and attempts to hijack the Egyptian nation and revolution."
The Front asks Egyptian workers to go on strike so that “our legitimate demands might be met and snap elections take place.” It also asked all those who took to the streets today “to keep on protesting in the streets and squares nationwide.”
It asks President Morsi, who they described as having "completely lost his legitimacy [as president],” to quickly respond to the people's will, “which has been loud and clear today nationwide.”
18:40 Violence flared between supporters and opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Nile Delta’s Tanta earlier this afternoon. Firearms, birdshot and bludgeons were being used, Al-Ahram reports.
Clashes erupted after three thousand anti-Morsi protesters gathered near an office of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. Five have been reported injured so far. Police are intervening to break up the fighting.
18:35 Speaking at a press conference, a presidential spokesperson says the presidency and the Egyptian people “would never accept western interference in Egypt’s internal affairs.” The comment is in response to a question about US President Barack Obama’s calls for President Morsi and opposition forces to engage in dialogue.
The presidency also strongly condemns the mob sexual assault of a foreigner woman during anti-government protests in Tahrir Square on Friday and says the presidency has ordered police to catch the perpetrators.
The spokesperson also dismisses reports that top army generals are contacting opposition leaders to persuade them to respond to the presidency’s call for dialogue. “The army is aware of its role in safeguarding the borders and state establishments. The presidency does not need mediation with opposition forces,” he adds.
18:20 Mahmoud Hassan, a 19-year-old plasterer from Qalyubia north of Cairo, tells Ahram Online's Mohamed Nada that he would settle for a government reshuffle and not necessarily the ouster of Morsi, if such changes ensured a better life for Egyptians.
"However, neither Morsi nor the Muslim Brotherhood seems to have the will to make any changes that would satisfy the public and make economic changes," Hassan says.
18:15 Shenouda Makram, a 26-year-old protester at the presidential palace, tells Ahram Online's Bassem Abo El-Abbas that he hopes that ex-PM Kamal El-Ganzouri will assume power from current PM Hisham Qandil.
Makram's main demand is that Morsi steps down, but he strongly believes his demand will not be achieved overnight but rather by pressure, which he expects will lead to violence.
"Because the Islamists won't give up easily," Makram adds.
18:15 Numbers of demonstrators increase all over Egypt’s governorates. Thousands are demonstrating in Gharbiya’s Mahala, thousands in Sharqiya, thousands in Mansoura and thousands in Suez.
18:10 The Mostafa Mahmoud march is about to enter Tahrir, although the end of the march still stretches far back into Dokki. Ahram Online’s Hazel Haddon reports that the mood is upbeat, with a lot of support from cheering onlookers.
Marchers have adhered to the Tamarod request to not wave party political flags, and they are largely staying on message - there is almost no variation in chants and most people are carrying either a picture of Morsi with a red ‘X’ or red cards reading ‘Leave’.
Many people seem anxious to get rid of Morsi at any cost. “We need the army to secure the country,” says Ahmed, a 32-year-old IT project manager from Mohandessin.
“I don’t trust them, but they are better than the Ikhwan,” Ahmed adds.
18:05 Ahly's star playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika, known for being Islamist-leaning, denies joining the mass rally supporting President Morsi as claimed by speakers at the Rabaa El-Adawia Mosque, according to Egyptian sports site FilGoal.com.
"Abou-Treika has not and will not join any marches supporting or protesting against Morsi," the veteran player's agent Hazem El-Hadid told the website.
17:55 Ahram Online's Hazel Haddon is at the Mostafa Mahmoud march headed to Tahrir Square.
Hazel reports that the march is large – numbering in the thousands, and most participants are waving Egyptian flags, in addition to Tamarod posters and pictures of Morsi with a red 'X' across his face.
There is an angry, but upbeat, mood at the march, and participants are alternating between chants of "down with the regime" and "I am not a Kafir (Infidel), I am not an atheist, down with the supreme guide’s rule."
There are also many families, accompanied by young children, present at the march.
Emad brought his two daughters, Yara (20) and Salma (17) to the march as a family so that they can "see everything together and protest together in Tahrir."
According to Emad, the family, hailing from Haram, Giza, rejects Morsi "because he is a failure and he is here for the Brotherhood, not for Egypt."
"Morsi is responsible for the death of 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai last year," Salma adds.
17:50 Former Egyptian journalists syndicate chairman Makram Mohamed Ahmed and current syndicate chairman Diaa Rashwan lead an anti-Morsi march from the press syndicate.
The march passes by Egypt’s High Court on its way to Tahrir in a gesture of solidarity with the Egyptian judiciary. Marchers hold images aloft of all journalists slain covering events since the January 2011 revolution until now.
Participants hold red cards to demand that Morsi resign and call for snap elections.
Journalists' Syndicate(Photo: Bassam EL-Zoghby)
17:50 Al-Gamaa Al-Islamyia issues a statement stressing its commitment to peaceful protests in support of the president's legitimacy, adding that it has not ordered any of its members to carry weapons.
The statement accuses the media of bias against Islamists, alleging that the mainstream media ignores the opposition’s crimes and the crimes of police officers against bearded men.
"The continuous attack on bearded men on public transport might compel some to carry tools for self defence," the statement adds
17:45 Reporting from the presidential palace, Ahram Online’s Osman Sharnoubi says demonstrators are continuing to pour in and the spirit is celebratory, nostalgic of the 18-day sit-in calling for Mubarak’s ouster.
Tens of thousands of protesters of all ages are waving Egyptian flags and red cards with the phrase ‘Leave’.
17:45 The Mostafa Mahmoud march has reached Dokki, and is still very upbeat, according to Ahram Online's Hazel Haddon.
Busses have been passing by the march, with people hanging out of the windows holding anti-Morsi pictures to loud cheers from the crowd.
Hazel spoke to Khayria (37), a housewife from Sheikh Zayed City here with her husband, a taxi driver, and carrying her three-year-old daughter on her shoulders.
According to Khayria, she is not afraid, for "we are all one hand: there are no Salafists, no Brotherhood, we're all Muslims."
Khayria wants Morsi to leave immediately and the army to take control, because Morsi has bled the country dry.
“We see so many people on the streets eating garbage and so many people staying at home because they can’t find work,” Khayria adds, emphasising that she is going to Tahrir to “fight until the last moment.”
17:40 Going back north to the Nile Delta's Gharbiya governorate, the number of anti-Morsi protesters are growing at Shoun Square in the industrial city of Mahalla. Several marches have been put off until after afternoon prayers so employees and workers can take part.
17:40 Cars with loudspeakers booming out patriotic songs roam the streets of the canal city of Port Said to invite people to join in.
17:35 One of the protesters in Shubra, Sameh Edward, tells Ahram Online that “today’s demonstrations are the second phase of the revolution... The extent to which change happens depends on the ability of the people to continue protesting in the streets for a few consecutive days.”
Ahram Online’s Mina Adel says the numbers are increasing in the Shubra march.
17:35 Ten of thousands are marching along Dokki’s Tahrir Street in a rally that began at several venues in Giza, Ahram Online’s Ahmed Abdel-Rasoul reports.
Leading the march are opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, labour activist Kamal Abou Eita and filmmaker Khaled Youssef.
The march merges with another led by opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei at Al-Nahda Square at the end of the street.
“Low-ranking police officers are standing in front of Dokki police station holding flags in support of the protesters,” reports Abdel-Rasoul. “Some are holding placards saying 'leave!'"
17:30 At least five Italian cities are witnessing anti-Morsi protests, including Milan, Rome, Bologna, Napoli and Palermo, MENA reports.
An Egyptian worker and syndicate member Nabil Hassan tells MENA that most Egyptians in Italy are joining the anti-Morsi demonstrations. The biggest protests are in the industrial city of Milan where two protests are being held, one in Duomo Square and the other in front of the Egyptian Consulate.
17:25 There are only a few hundred protesters at the presidential palace - surprising considering the numbers protesting elsewhere - chanting "leave," waving with Egyptian flags and holding red placards reading "No to Morsi." Numbers are expected to swell with thousands heading to the palace this evening.
17:25 The main stage at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque announces that prominent Sunni cleric Youssef El-Qaradawi, known for his support of the Muslim Brotherhood, is expected to arrive to the sit-in in a show of support for President Morsi, Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website reports.
Other prominent figures expected to come to the sit-in are popular Egyptian football players Mohamed Abou Treika and Hady Khashaba.
17:20 Numbers at Alexandria’s main railway station increase to a few thousand, while protesters continue to wait for marches, flocking from all over the coastal city to Sidi Gaber Square.
“Everything is bad in the country, the economy is collapsing and Morsi is not an independent president,” Fouad Ali, one of the protesters, tells Ahram Online’s Yasmine Fathi.
Ali added that allowing Morsi to continue his term would be like continuing to drive a car that only has three litres of gas left. “It will stop in the middle of the road,” he said.
17:15 There is a concentration of armoured vehicles and presidential guards in front of gate 5 of the presidential palace. All the other gates are unguarded, state news agency MENA says.
Police are nowhere to be seen around the presidential palace.
17:10 Ahram Online’s Mary Mourad reports that three marches have gathered at Horreyya Square in the southern Cairo district of Maadi heading to Tahrir Square and Saraya El-Qubba Metro Station en route to the presidential palace.
“Two metro trains loaded with protesters just left the metro station in Maadi and a few hundred are waiting for the next train, chanting inside the station,” Mourad adds.
16:50 Moving east to the Canal city of Suez, Anti-Morsi protesters in Al-Arbaeen Square have arrested an “infiltrator” carrying a pellet gun and handed him over to the army, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reports.
16:40 Reham Sayed tells Ahram Online’s Yasmine Fathi that Morsi’s election victory showed “how incompetent the people are.”
“We don’t want a new period of military rule. We want the army to create a presidential council and manage the transition,” Sayed says, emphasising that she has never been pro-military rule.
The army will not interfere unless there is violence, she adds.
16:35 Hundreds of protesters are gathering at Alexandria’s main railway station, Ahram Online’s Yasmine Fathi reports.
The atmosphere is jovial with lots of fireworks and people waving flags as they wait for marches to arrive before heading to Sidi Gaber Square.
16:15 Egyptians are protesting against the Muslim Brotherhood outside the country's embassy in London.
16:10 Several thousand protesters are in Cairo’s Dawaran Shubra chanting “Leave!” and “Down with the Supreme Guide.” The crowd will head to Tahrir Square soon, Ahram Online’s Mina Adel reports.
16:05 Artists and cultural figures are protesting outside the culture ministry in the posh neighbourhood of Zamalek, Ahram Online's Ati Metwali reports.
They are planning to march to the opera house, where they might hold performances in public areas, before heading towards Tahrir Square.
(Photo: Ati Metwali)
15:55 Local artists from the Nile Delta city of Ismailiya, actors from the Ismailiya Cultural Palace and residents of Al-Khamsa will join a protest march towards the city's administration building.
The march organiser, Ahmed Nagi, details to Ahram Online that most marches - including those from Al-Sheikh Zayed district, the city's two universities and the cultural protest - will take off at 4pm and converge at Al-Mamar Square. From there they will all head to Ismailiya City administration building.
Nagi, a Constitution Party member, says activists from different political groups have been protesting in front of the governorate building for 10 days, rejecting the recently-appointed defence minister.
"Once the sit-in starts, we will not leave until the regime falls and radical change takes place," Nagi says.
15.50 Egypt’s presidency will hold a press conference at El-Qobba presidential palace at 17:30.
15.45 Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II says via Twitter:
"Egypt is our country, the land of the Nile that carries us all, and its our duty to protect it without violence or committing assaults... The blood of every Egyptian is precious, please participate, but respect others.”
15:35 Dozens of artists are protesting against President Morsi in the upscale Cairo neighbourhood of Zamalek. They are banging clogs in a nod to Queen Shagaret El-Dorr who was beaten to death by slaves using wooden clogs in CE1257.
Artists protesting against President Morsi with clogs in Cairo's Zamalek (Photo: Ati Metwaly)
15.30 The FJP accuses anti-Morsi Rebel campaigners of attacking the party's office in Alexandria’s Al-Hadra district earlier on Sunday.
Atef Abo El-Eid of the FJP says, "Local residents stood up to [the attackers] and drove them out, but the office was damaged and some of its contents ransacked."
15:25 President Mohamed Morsi is currently at the El-Qobba presidential palace, an anonymous source tells Al-Ahram Arabic news website. Morsi is keeping a close eye on events and stresses the need to prevent clashes, the source adds.
A plane is reportedly at the palace ready to evacuate the president if required.
15:15 Heading to north Sinai's Al-Arish, dozens of people are marching towards Refaie Square, chanting slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood.
An Al-Ahram Arabic reporter in the square says the numbers are growing and are projected to reach thousands in the coming hours.
15:05 Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Yasser Mehrez tells Al-Ahram that all the group’s leaders are in Egypt and they are following the protests closely.
No leading members are at the Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo’s Moqattam because there are no meetings scheduled for today, Mehrez says.
The Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau held a meeting on Saturday attended by all its members as usual, he adds.
15:00 The police have taken exceptional measures to prepare for today’s protests, Al-Ahram’s Ayman Farouk reports from the Ministry of Interior in Cairo.
"All Central Security Forces soldiers have been given new badges to display their identities and all of the ministry's vehicles have been plastered with the same posters in an attempt to prevent the impersonation of police officers."
Police will be deployed near protest sites at dusk, Farouk adds.
14:50 Ahram Online’s Bassem Aly speaks with prominent labour activist Kamal El-Fayoumi in Mahalla:
"The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t dare to organise protests in Mahalla. The people of the city voted against the constitution and President Morsi and they reject the group’s presence in power.
"I am expecting around 1 million people to take to the streets of Mahalla this afternoon.
"Only 10 percent of workers at the state-owned Mahalla Misr Spinning and Weaving Company are working today, the others will be protesting."
El-Fayoumi describes President Morsi as "Mohamed Morsi Mubarak," adding that he has failed to fulfill any of his election promises.
"Mahalla contributed heavily to the removal of Mubarak from power, and we will do the same thing with Morsi."
14:35 In the upscale Cairo suburb of Maadi, tens of anti-Morsi protesters are joining larger marches, Ahram Online's Mary Mourad says. Motorists and microbus drivers are honking horns and waving national flags to galvanise the marchers.
Protesters in Cairo's Maadi on their way to Tahrir Square (Photo: Mary Mourad)
14:25 Ahram Online's Bel Trew notes a significant amount of anti-American sentiment in Tahrir Square, with signs critical of US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson and banners reading that America is responsible for bloodshed in Egypt. Security is tight on the square with a significant amount of distrust being shown towards foreigners.
(Photo: Bel Trew)
14.15 Hatem Bagato, minister for parliamentary affairs and vice president of the High Constitutional Court (HCC), tells reporters that the HCC cannot dismiss the president from office.
On Saturday, the Rebel campaign said it had collected over 22 million signatures, surpassing its original goal of 15 million before 30 June, calling for President Morsi's removal from office. It said it would give the petition to the head of the HCC to push for legal action. It also reaffirmed its call for the head of the HCC to take power for six months then call fresh presidential elections.
14:00 Military helicopters fly towards Tahrir Square from the direction of Imbaba to applause from some protesters.
This image made through a window shows military helicopters flying over Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, June 30, 2013 (Photo: AP)
13:55 Back up north, protesters in Gharbiya chain up the doors of several city council buildings and erect banners reading "closed on the revolution's orders."
In a similar vein, seven city council buildings have been closed by protesters in Menoufiya governorate, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reports.
13:50 In Tanta, capital of the Nile Delta’s Gharbiya governorate, opponents of President Morsi are driving around the streets with microphones calling on people to join protests at the governorate headquarters.
Luxor security directorate announces that it has transferred all those jailed in the local police station to Qena prison due to the risk of violence.
13:45 The 30 June Front announces that open-ended sit-ins have started in front of the presidential palace, in Tahrir Square and in all other major squares across Egypt until President Morsi steps down and all the legitimate demands of the Egyptian people have been answered.
13:40 Back in Tahrir Square, Ahram Online’s Bel Trew speaks to Ayman Mahmoud, 28, about why he is protesting today:
"My brother died in Mohamed Mahmoud Street during the 18 days, he was just 25 years old, his name was Mostafa. If I had the money I'd leave the country and travel abroad because there's no work, even though I have a degree. Egyptians are currently living in extreme poverty. There has been no justice for my brother's death. This is not what revolution demanded. I feel like Morsi is living in another world, he’s taken unpopular decisions and continues to say unpopular things like praising the very police force who were responsible for my brother's death.”
13:35 Unknown assailants storm Ain Shams University, a few miles from the presidential palace, a focal point for today’s opposition rallies.
Assailants fire at security guards and students, causing panic outside the nearby defence ministry where protesters have been holding a sit-in since last week.
13:30 Morsi backers are flocking to the Cairo suburb of Nasr City, where thousands have been camped out since Friday. Morsi supporters say most of the country's problems were inherited from the corrupt regime of Hosni Mubarak.
13:25 Back in the capital, thousands of protesters have been in Tahrir Square since early Sunday morning. People are waving flags and chanting against Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi's opponents accuse him of betraying the revolution’s ideals and plunging the economy into free fall.
13:20 In the Nile Delta's Sharqiya protesters are concentrated in the areas surrounding Morsi’s family home, around the governorate headquarters, and in Orabi Square.
Sharqiya governorate’s media office denies reports that protesters have forced the office to close and says its working as normal.
13:10 On Egypt’s north coast, hundreds of protesters are arriving at the Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque in Alexandria, a meeting point for rallies in the city, chanting “Leave! Leave!”
Hundreds of anti-Morsi protesters in Ashmoun in the Nile Delta's Menoufiya governorate have cut off the Cairo-Alexandria agricultural road.
Protesters have also closed off seven city council buildings in the governorate with chains and erected signs reading "Closed by order of the people."
They have also closed off the governorate's administration complex.
13:00 Good morning, we open our live coverage of today's mass protests. Thousands of opponents of President Mohamed Morsi are flooding into Cairo's Tahrir Square and protest sites across Egypt. Opponents of the president have been camped out at the presidential palace since Friday.
For more background information on the expected rallies, click here.
Egypt is anticipating its biggest wave of protests since the January 25 Revolution, this time calling for Islamist President Morsi to step down and for early presidential elections.
Spearheaded by grassroots Rebel campaign, which says it has collected 22 million signatures calling for the president's ouster, organisers have vowed an open-ended sit-in until Morsi leaves office.
Several marches will descend on Tahrir Square and the presidential palace in the capital's Heliopolis Sunday, meanwhile similar rallies are expected in governorates across the country.
Once allies in Tahrir Square for 18 days in 2011, the liberal and leftist parties and groups are preparing for a face-off with the now-ruling Muslim Brotherhood president, his party and a number of Islamist forces who decided to back him in his war for "legitimacy."
Protests have already been breaking out a week in advance of 30 June in Cairo, Alexandria and several Egyptian governorates, including Daqahliya, Sharqiya and Zagazig.
Fierce clashes broke out in Alexandria, Egypt's second city, often ending in clashes between the president's supporters and opponents. This alarmed many activists and politicians who repeatedly called on all parties to remain peaceful.
Islamist forces are currently staging a sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City that they started on Friday in support of Morsi. They held a similar rally last week, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
Also on Friday, tens of thousands of anti-Morsi protesters gathered in several parts of Cairo and marched on to Tahrir Square - the flashpoint of Egypt's revolution.
The Brotherhood offices have come under attack, with Freedom and Justice Party headquarters in the Nile Delta and Alexandria being firebombed and ransacked, resulting in several deaths.
Against the backdrop of growing violence some are calling on the military to intervene.
Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, for his part, said last week that the armed forces did not want to get involved in politics, however they would come to the streets to prevent Egypt from slipping into a "dark tunnel of civil unrest."
A day ahead of the mass rallies, Morsi met with his defence and interior ministers Saturday to discuss plans to secure the country.