Egypt braces for violence as Morsi allies take to streets

Muslim Brotherhood leaders arrested, but Morsi supporters vow to 'bring down' military coup

Supporters of Egyptian President Morsi shout slogans during a support rally in Ankara ON July 3, 2013. In Cairo, tens of thousands cheered, ignited firecrackers and honked horns as soon as th
(Image credit: 2013 AFP)

EGYPT is preparing for more violence today as supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi plan a series of large-scale protests.

Those who back Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have called for a 'Day of Rejection' following the swearing-in of interim president Adly Mansour yesterday. The Guardian says pro-Morsi forces are "still reeling" from what they insist is a military coup and are expected to take to the streets en masse today after Friday prayers.

Anger has been further fuelled by a series of raids and arrests carried out by the military that has "decimated the Muslim Brotherhood's senior ranks and consolidated the military's hold on the country". The fact that the Brotherhood's supreme leader, Mohamed al-Badie, is one of those arrested is a "stark sign of Egypt's new political reality", the paper says, because he was "untouchable" when Morsi held power.

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Gehad al-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, said that members of the party were being "headhunted". He added that today's mass rally would "take all peaceful steps necessary to bring down this coup."

According to the BBC, the military has said it will "guarantee the right to protest" as long as demonstrations do not "threaten national security". Given the intensity of feeling on the streets the risk of violence is running high.

The BBC reports that a soldier was killed this morning after Islamist militants attacked military and police checkpoints in the Sinai Peninsula with rockets and mortar fire. It is unclear if the attacks are linked to Morsi's removal.

Meanwhile, AP says Morsi was "isolated, but defiant" in the final hours before he was ousted from the presidency. It reports that he retorted "over my dead body!" when General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi – Egypt's most senior military officer – asked him to step down. AP says Morsi was abandoned by the army, police and ministers and that the Republican Guards tasked with defending him "simply stepped away" when Egyptian commandos came to take him to an undisclosed Defence Ministry facility.

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