Lower turnout for pro-Mursi rallies in Egypt as military turns out in force
CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's military turned out in force as thousands calling for the ousted president's reinstatement held scattered protests across Cairo, but the Muslim Brotherhood failed to bring out huge numbers, in a sign that an intense crackdown has dealt a serious blow to the 85-year-old group's support base.
In a day dubbed the "Friday of Martyrs", Islamists in groups of hundreds chanted against the military and held up posters of deposed leader Mohammed Mursi on side streets and outside neighborhood mosques. At least one person was killed in clashes in the Delta city of Tanta, but there was no major fighting.
Thousands marched through the streets of Cairo's Nasr City district, some chanting, "We are willing to sacrifice our lives" and "We promise the martyrs that we will end military rule", in reference to the several hundred people that died in clashes with Egypt's military during raids on street camps this month. One man held aloft a picture of Mr Mursi with the words, "the legitimate president".
But large rallies taking over main streets and squares failed to materialise as armoured vehicles and soldiers were deployed outside mosques and other strategic areas. The military also closed off main streets, some flyovers and barricaded Tahrir Square and other plazas in a show of force aimed at preventing the pro-Mursi camp from gathering en masse.