Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi take part in a protest during Friday prayers at the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
Hundreds of thousands of supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi have taken to the streets throughout Egypt to reject his removal, heeding Islamist calls for protest.
Morsi backers have called for a "Friday of rejection," headed by the National Coalition to Support Legitimacy, an Islamist coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hails.
Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, who has been chased with media reports of his arrest, visited Cairo’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in Nasr City where Morsi supporters have been holding their sit-in for over a week.
Speaking to the masses in the square, Badie called on Egypt’s military to return back to its barrack, asserting that they [Islamists] are defending the freedoms of Egyptians and not just one individual Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi, who took office last June after winning Egypt's first post-Mubarak democratic elections, was forced out of office on Wednesday by military chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, in response to four days of nationwide mass protests that demanded early presidential elections.
The move to remove Morsi was met by outrage by the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies who described it as a "coup d’etat."
"I say our revolution is peaceful and will remain peaceful and with God’s will our peacefulness is stronger than guns or tanks. I call on the army to return to the people," said Badie, who asserted that Egypt will not be ruled by the army again.
"We will not leave the streets until president Morsi is reinstated," added Badie.
Protests in support of former president Mohamed Morsi are designed to increase the pressure for a political solution to the current crisis, Ahmed Sobei of the Muslim Brotherhood told Ahram Online.
Thousands of pro-Morsi supporters are demonstrating across Egypt on Friday. Clashes have taken place between protesters and soldiers at the Republican Guard headquarters, where Mohamed Morsi is reportedly being held, leaving at least one dead.
Earlier on Friday, tens of thousands of Morsi supporters marched to the Republican Guards headquarters in Cairo's Heliopolis district, near Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square.
Protesters believe the ejected president is being held at the Republican Guard.
Several media outlets later reported that violence broke out with number of casualties varying.
AFP reported three have been killed after army allegedly opened fire at protesters, while a security source told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that no one has been killed at the protest, adding that pro-Morsi protesters attempted to raid the Republican Guard building.
The Ministry of Health has not confirmed the numbers killed in Friday's clashes.
Egypt's military spokesman Ahmed Ali denied that the army has opened fire at the protesters, saying it only used blank rounds and teargas.
Pro-Morsi supporters have also gathered in northern cities of Alexandria, Beheira and the Upper Egyptian city of Menya following Friday prayers.
Clashes erupted in Egypt’s second-largest city of Alexandria between supporters and opponents of Morsi near the military base headquarters in Alexandria where hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters have gathered.
The violence broke out on Friday afternoon after Morsi supporters were reportedly harassed by anti-Morsi passersby. Police intervened to form a buffer in attempt to disperse the crowds, according to Al-Ahram Arabic news website.
On Friday morning, the Egyptian army declared a state of 'high alert' in the governorates of Sinai and Suez after an armed Islamic group attacked army checkpoints and a police base in the restive north Sinai Pennisula, killing one soldier.
Two low-ranking officers were also killed Friday afternoon by unknown gunmen in north Sinai, reported Al-Ahram Arabic news website.