Rival demonstrations in Egypt on a curfew-free Friday

Ahram Online , Friday 15 Nov 2013

Islamist demonstrations fuel fears of a violent showdown a day after authorities ended a state of emergency in force since August

Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi chant anti-army slogans as one waves a national flag, during a protest in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi took to the streets of Cairo and other governorates on Friday afternoon, a day after a three-month-old curfew aimed at curbing street protests was lifted.

Hundreds of Morsi loyalists marched through the capital in what Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement billed "No to Reprisal Justice" protests denouncing the "farcical" trial of the deposed leader which began on 4 November.

According to television reports, groups of students from Al-Azhar University staged a march on the fringes of Rabaa Al-Adawiya, a square in eastern Cairo that was the site of a large protest camp by Morsi supporters over the summer until a violent dispersal by security forces.

The square, which has been sealed off by troops since the morning, is a short walk from the Al-Azhar campus.

Numbers appeared limited despite a pro-Morsi grouping call for a "million-strong" march. A sustained police crackdown on Islamists which saw hundreds killed and thousands of others arrested has significantly hampered the group’s ability to turn out crowds.

Hundreds joined several marches in Alexandria, holding up posters showing the yellow symbol of Rabaa and chanting against the army and Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

Fridays has become the usual day for protests in Egypt, with marches setting off from mosques after the weekly Muslim afternoon prayers.

On Thursday, the state of emergency and an accompanying curfew, which had begun at 7pm on Fridays, was lifted.

At the same time in Alexandria, hundreds of supporters of the country's interim leaders rallied in the central Qaed Ibrahim mosque to voice their backing for the Egyptian army that removed Morsi and to denounce "terrorism," Al-Ahram’s Arabic website reported.

Protesters held aloft photos of El-Sisi, and shouted anti-Brotherhood and anti-terrorism slogans as they marched east along the city's seafront.

Egypt's interior ministry said on Thursday it was sending armed police units and patrols into the capital's major street and in Giza to ensure heightened security, according to MENA state news agency.

Morsi, 62, was toppled by the military in July after mass protests against his rule, and now being tried for incitement of murder, which could carry the death penalty.

In his first public appearance since his removal, Morsi refused to recognise the court trying him and insisted he was still Egypt's legitimate president.

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