Supporters of Mohamed Mursi outside the court have celebrated as a victory the adjournment of his trial until January.
Despite tight security and the venue’s location on the outskirts of Cairo, hundreds of pro-Mursi protesters still turned up. One sign read: “The will of the people has been raped”, a reference to the army takeover.
They accuse the authorities of using unfair tactics.
“We’ve been outside the court for hours, and they prevented some of the defence team from getting in using suspicious tricks, they decided to move the location of the trial at the last minute. This is injustice,” said lawyer Mohammed Abedalfatah, one of Mursi’s defence team.
“Through Mursi’s trial they’re judging a man who also represents the will of the people. This trial is not fair because he’s ruled the country only for several months,” said another Mursi supporter.
However, despite Mursi supporters’ belief that the trial is politically motivated, lawyers representing victims of last December’s trouble pointed out that the charges of inciting violence pre-date Mursi’s overthrow.
A reporter was among several people shot during those clashes. Inside the courtroom some local journalists called Mursi a traitor.
Outside, reporters and camera crews bore the brunt of the anger of pro-Mursi supporters who tried to attack them.
Our correspondent at the scene, Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, said: “It’s the second trial of the century as Egyptians call it (following that of Hosni Mubarak), carried out amid unprecedented security measures. A state of rage and denial can be seen on the faces of the ousted president’s supporters who still insist that the main source of legitimacy is derived from the man behind bars.”
Away from the court there were clashes in central Cairo, as police fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse crowds of Mursi supporters.
There is heavy security across the city, with Tahrir Square – often the focus of protests – sealed off.
The now-banned Muslim Brotherhood has said it will not abandon the street protests it has staged to pressurise the army to reinstate the ex-leader.
But Egypt remains deeply polarised. Many people support the military-backed government, believing Mursi mismanaged the economy and abused his power – allegations he denied.
“We didn’t see as much misery in the 30 years of Mubarak as we saw in one year of Mursi,” said Ali, a driver having a break in a Cairo café. “He fooled us with his year in power.”
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