Rival Friday rallies in Egypt demand Morsi's return, celebrate ouster

Ahram Online, Reem Gehad, Saturday 13 Jul 2013

Provincial governorates throughout Egypt see host of Friday demonstrations, both to call for return of Egypt's deposed president and to celebrate his 3 July ouster


Governorates around the country on Friday saw demonstrations both in support and against Egypt's ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, who was removed by the army last week amid massive protests against his administration. 

In the coastal city of Alexandria, hundreds of anti-Morsi protesters gathered in Sidi Gaber Square for a communal Ramadan breakfast where they reportedly set off fireworks in celebration. 

Mahmoud El-Khatib, 6 April Youth Movement spokesman in Alexandria, said that the communal breakfast aimed to bring together various political forces "to assert their unity against dictatorship and their dedication to fulfilling the revolution's demands."

Former presidential contender Abu El-Ezz El-Hariri, who was present at the gathering, told Al-Ahram that the recent 30 June protests had constituted "a corrective" of Egypt's 25 January 2011 uprising. 

Earlier in Alexandria, residents of the Mansheya district prevented a march of hundreds of members of the Muslim Brotherhood – the group from which Morsi hails – from entering the area. Marchers reportedly carried images of the ousted president.  

According to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news portal, thousands of Mansheya residents opposed them, chanting instead for Egyptian Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. The march had to disperse through side streets after failing to move on. 

El-Sisi, leader of Egypt's armed forces, announced Morsi's ouster on 3 July following mass nationwide protests against the president. The next day, Adly Mansour, head of Egypt's' High Constitutional Court, was sworn in as interim president. 

In the Suez Canal city of Port Said, anti-Morsi groups also held a communal breakfast in Al-Shohada Square, which included the Constitution Party, the Free Egyptians Party, the 30 June Front and the Rebel campaign, which spearheaded calls for Morsi's removal.  

Meanwhile, several governorates nationwide also witnessed demonstrations in support of Morsi, who is currently being held by authorities in an unknown location.

In the Nile Delta city of Zagazig, capital of Morsi's home governorate of Sharqiya, thousands marched in the streets calling for his reinstatement.

Hundreds reportedly took buses to Cairo to participate in a mass rally at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque to push for the same demand. 

Similarly, in Suez, about 12 buses filled with Morsi supporters departed for Cairo following Friday prayers. 

Several Brotherhood-led marches also took to the streets on Friday in support of the ousted president in Ismailia, Fayoum and Beni Suef. 

In the Nile Delta governorate of Menoufiya, meanwhile, tensions were high as two Brotherhood members were reportedly held in a mosque following afternoon prayers. Police forces were eventually able to free the two men. 

In Assiut, Upper Egypt, thousands of Morsi’s supporters went out in a march on Friday evening from Omar Makram Mosque and moved though the city’s streets.

Earlier in Assiut, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy distributed a statement vowing to reinstate Morsi and claim “victory” for legitimacy.

Similarly, in Upper Egypt’s Aswan, hundreds of pro-Morsi protesters have demonstrated after the night (Isha) prayers.

Meanwhile, in Cairo, similar demonstrations have been taking place.

Thousands of Morsi supporters gathered in downtown Cairo's Ramses district to demand the ousted president's reinstatement. The protest ended up blocking traffic as demonstrators settled down on the street for Iftar – when Muslims break their day-long fast during the holy month of Ramadan. 

Hundreds of thousands of pro-Morsi protesters also gathered earlier on Friday in Nasr City east of Cairo for a demonstration.

In Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, meanwhile, several thousands gathered for a communal Ramadan breakfast to show their support for Morsi's ouster by the military. 

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