Cairo is braced for a “Friday of Rejection” as supporters of toppled leader Mohammed Mursi plan to march on the Ministry of Defence.
The arrest of Mohammed Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, as part of a wider crackdown has incensed the Brotherhood.
Feelings are running high. “Removing President Mursi is illegitimate, General Sissi has carried out a coup with no respect for the law or the constitution and Egypt will suffer for decades to come,” said a Mursi supporter:
The army has said it will allow limited peaceful protest as those opposed to Mursi continued to pack Tahrir Square
Still fears persist of increased violence in the wake of threats by Islamist extremists.
In the 1990s, Islamist insurgents waged a bloody campaign against security forces in southern Egypt.
Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, which carried out some of the most deadly attacks, eventually renounced violence and formed a political party after Mubarak was toppled.
But some Gamaa members have said publicly that they would take up arms again to defend Mursi, a threat the group’s leaders are now trying to play down, and which is controversial among the Islamist rank and file.
“If the army dares to kill democracy in Egypt, we will fight them,” Mohamed al-Amin, a Gamaa member, said hours ahead of the army decree, gesturing to the thousands of supporters who had gathered at a pro-Mursi rally in Cairo.
Sobhy Youssef, a Brotherhood supporter sitting nearby, interrupted him: “No, no, my brother,” he said. “We are not taking up weapons. What we are taking up is our patience and our faith in God.”