Egypt braces for rival rallies, army signals crackdown
CAIRO (REUTERS) - A deeply polarised Egypt braced for bloodshed on Friday in rival mass rallies summoned by the army that ousted the state's first freely elected president and by the Islamists who back him.
Both sides warned of a decisive struggle for the future of the Arab world's most populous country, convulsed by political and economic turmoil since the 2011 uprising that ended 30 years of autocratic rule by Hosni Mubarak.
Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called Egyptians into the streets to give the military a "mandate" to confront weeks of violence unleashed by his July 3 overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
A military official said the army had given Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood a Saturday deadline to end its resistance and join a military-set road map to fresh elections, signalling a turning point in the confrontation.