There has been a ratcheting up of tension among supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi after Egypt’s interim government ordered the police to end their sit-ins.
It is not clear what methods the security forces will use but it is feared the country faces the prospect of further bloodshed.
A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed El-Beltagy accused the military of going against its own mandate if it uses force to clear the protesters.
“I would like to say that using force to end the sit-in is a decision which could kill thousands and that means the military has forgotten its main role which is to protect Egypt’s borders and rather than to kill its people,” he said.
Protesters such as Saeed el-Mistakawi joined in night time prayers near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque while remaining defiant.
“We pay no attention to the statements of the interior minister, nor do we care whether America is with us. What concerns me is remaining in this place and God willing, we will be victorious,” he said.
The crackdown, coupled with criminal probes against Mursi and Brotherhood leaders has fuelled global concern that the military plans to crush the Islamist movement rather than to negotiate a peaceful settlement.
Get a different perspective