Supporters of embattled President Mohamed Morsi staged marches countrywide on Monday night in support of the president's "democratic legitimacy" in the wake of a statement by Egypt's armed forces suggesting that it planned to reassume executive authority.
Thousands of Morsi supporters took to the streets in a march from Giza's Haram Street and Omraniya district to Al-Nahda Square outside Cairo University, the site of previous pro-Morsi rallies.
The march – which included men, women and children – brought traffic on Haram Street to a standstill. Carrying placards depicting President Morsi, protesters chanted: "[The president's democratic] legitimacy is a red line."
Meanwhile, a pro-Morsi rally outside Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City, estimated in the hundreds of thousands, remains in place for the fourth consecutive day.
In the Nile Delta Sharqiya governorate, residents of the village of Abu Kebir also organised a protest march to support the president – who hails from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement – and say "No to military rule."
Protesters reportedly left El-Nasr Mosque after evening prayers, chanting, "Down with military rule," "Egypt's legitimacy is with the president" and "We love you Morsi."
In the northern city of Suez, supporters and opponents of the presidency reportedly exchanged gunfire near the mouth of the Suez Canal Monday night, according to witnesses quoted by Reuters.
"The sound of gunfire is everywhere. Supporters and opponents are going back and forth," Reuters quoted one witness as saying.
The pro-Morsi marches and rallies come against the backdrop of massive, ongoing demonstrations demanding the president's ouster, the largest of which are in Tahrir Square and at Cairo's presidential palace.
On Monday evening, Egypt's armed forces issued a statement giving all political powers 48 hours to resolve the country's ongoing political standoff or else face a military-imposed "roadmap" for the country's political future.
At least 16 people have been killed in clashes between rival protesters since Sunday, when millions of Egyptians flooded the streets to demand Morsi step down.
Pro-Morsi protests have also erupted in the northern Marsa Matrouh governorate and in the Upper Egyptian governorates of Minya and Qena.
The ultra-conservative Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya group, meanwhile, a staunch supporter of the president, has urged Morsi supporters nationwide to hit the streets to peacefully express the need to "respect the constitution and the public will."
Morsi's critics usually cite the country’s deteriorating economy and the "incompetence of his administration."
Many of his opponents also believe that the Muslim Brotherhood, from which he hails, is the actual ruling body of Egypt while Morsi is helping the group dominate power.