CAIRO (REUTERS, AFP) - Egyptian soldiers fired tear gas on Friday at protesters backing ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi who were marching near the presidential palace compound in Cairo, state news agency MENA reported.
Thousands of supporters of Mr Mursi, ousted by the army on July 3 after mass demonstrations, took to the streets of several Egyptian cities on Friday to demand that the powerful military reinstate the state's first freely elected president.
The defiant crowd chanted "Down with the coup!" and "Egypt Islamic!" in Cairo on Friday more than two weeks after the army toppled the country's first freely elected president.
Soldiers blocked one procession of around 10,000 protesters who waved flags, carried pictures of the deposed Islamist leader and vowed to press a protest campaign until he is reinstated.
"We will continue to besiege all strategic places... We will stop life until we have restored our rights," said Khairy Mussa, a teacher of English.
Fighter jets and military helicopters flew low over the capital a day after the military warned that it would decisively confront any protesters who turned violent.
Members of the crowd formed a human chain to separate the Islamists from the long line of soldiers across the road.
Supporters of Mr Mursi, who has been held in custody since his ouster on July 3, view the army's decision to overthrow the man they voted into power last year as an affront to democracy.
Demonstrators angrily denounced Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief behind the coup. Men, women and children carried placards reading "Leave, Sisi, Mursi is the president," with some chanting "Sisi traitor!" and branding the general a "killer".
The Islamists have failed to muster the vast numbers of people who rallied in the days preceding Mursi's overthrow calling for him to go.
But tens of thousands did march on Friday, with some of the numerous processions in Cairo heading towards military institutions, despite the heavy deployment of troops around them.
"We are protesting at the places where the army can hear our voice," said Osama Okasha, 54, at one rally near the ministry of defence.