Brotherhood calls for new demos, army beefs up

Brotherhood calls for new demos, army beefs up
Fri Aug 23, 2013 15:37:37

Egyptian troops and police stood ready in Cairo to foil Muslim Brotherhood plans for "Friday of Martyrs" protests against the army's bloody crackdown on followers of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

The Brotherhood, hounded by Egypt's new army-backed rulers, has called for marches from 28 mosques after midday prayers in Cairo, testing the resilience of its battered support base.

Security precautions appeared relatively low-key, even near the Fateh mosque in the heart of the capital where gun battles raged last Friday and Saturday, killing scores of people.

The mosque's metal gates and big front door were locked and chained. A doorman said prayers had been cancelled. Two armored personnel carriers were parked down the street, where people shopped at a bustling market.

Egypt has endured the bloodiest civil unrest in its modern history since Aug. 14 when police destroyed protest camps set up by Morsi's supporters in Cairo to demand the reinstatement of the ousted president, who was deposed by the army on July 3 after huge demonstrations against his first year's rule.

The authorities declared a month-long state of emergency last week and they enforced a nightly curfew. The state news agency said the armed forces had strengthened their presence around the presidential palace and the defense ministry.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which won five successive votes held in Egypt after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, is reeling from a week of bloodshed and the arrest of many of its leaders.

In a symbolic victory for the army-dominated old order, Hosni Mubarak, the ex-military former president who ruled Egypt with an iron fist for 30 years before a popular uprising toppled him in 2011, was freed from jail on Thursday.

His successor Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, remains behind bars.


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