Egypt Islamists rally, numbers less than hoped
By Haitham El-Tabei, AFPCAIRO--Several thousand Egyptians protested in Cairo Friday in support of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, far fewer than had been hoped for by harried Islamists, who had called for mass rallies.
August 31, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
In the capital's Nasr City district, thousands marched holding pictures of those killed in days of violent clashes with police this month during a security crackdown on the Islamists.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, the main group organizing protests, has lost its ability to bring people out in large numbers because of sweeping arrests that have netted its top leaders among at least 2,000 Islamists since Aug. 14.
That day, police broke up two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo. More than 1,000 people died in clashes during that operation and ensuing violence around the country.
In another Cairo neighborhood Friday, police fired tear gas to disperse several dozen protesters, an AFP correspondent said.
Smaller protests were reported elsewhere in the country, and civilian supporters of the army, which toppled Morsi in a July 3 coup, turned out in some places to scuffle with the marchers.
In Nasr City, the marches also raised yellow posters showing a black hand with four fingers raised, their symbol for the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp dispersed on Aug. 14.
“We are not here for the Muslim Brotherhood or Morsi, but for democracy, and for the sake of our wasted votes,” said one protester, Noha Galal, a housewife.
Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, served for only a year before the military ousted him in the popularly backed coup.
Police had warned they would crack down on any protests that “violated the law” and would use deadly force if their stations and government buildings were attacked.
Soldiers had closed off main thoroughfares and squares on Friday in anticipation of the marches.