CAIRO - The leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, told a
protest rally on Friday that he was ready to reach an understanding with
the armed forces - but only after the movement's Mohamed Morsi was
reinstated as president.
As a military helicopter hovered low
over the crowd, Badie called on the army not to fire on its own people
and said that demonstrations were stronger than tanks.
"Our bear chests are stronger than bullets," he said.
had earlier called for mass rallies to continue until the Brotherhood
could carry Morsi "on our shoulders". The ousted president has been in
military custody since his overthrow on Wednesday.
As darkness fell, thousands of pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators gathered in parts of Cairo. Soldiers and special forces backed by armored personnel carriers attempted to keep small groups from the two factions apart.
Prior to Badie's speech, at least three demonstrators were shot dead Friday outside the Republican Guard barracks in Cairo where Morsi is being held, security sources said.
sources said security forces had opened fire, however a spokesman for
the army said troops had only fired blank rounds and teargas. A Reuters
journalist saw demonstrators hit by shotgun pellets. It was not clear
whether security forces other than the army were present.
Thousands of Morsi supporters
demonstrated in cities across the country on what his Muslim Brotherhood
called a "Friday of rage" against what they describe as a military coup
that toppled Egypt's first elected leader a year after he took office.
Cairo, hundreds of supporters of Morsi had marched towards the suburban
compound where he is being held and gathered outside. A Reuters
journalist heard shotgun fire and saw at least eight people among the
protesters who had been wounded.
He had seen hundreds of
demonstrators approach the military cordon. A handful of men walked to a
barbed wire barrier and place a poster of Morsi on it. A soldier
removed it and tore it up.
The crowd shouted curses at the soldiers, some waved shoes in a traditional gesture of insult.
Reuters journalist saw troops fire in the air. He then heard shotgun
fire and at least eight demonstrators hit. Tear gas rounds burst,
dispersing the crowd.
An hour later, hundreds of demonstrators
were still nearby, some praying. Some waved posters of Morsi, who was
ousted by the armed forces on Wednesday after mass protests against him.
One man held up hands stained red and said: "This is the blood of those who died."
Soldiers were still in place behind barbed wire. Military helicopters periodically flew overhead.
The Muslim Brotherhood called on its website for more of its supporters to congregate there.
of Islamists also took to the streets of Alexandria and Assiut to
protest against the army's ouster of Morsi and reject a planned interim
government backed by their liberal opponents.
In the Suez city of
Ismailia, soldiers fired into the air as Morsi supporters tried to
break into the governor's office. The Islamists retreated and there were
no casualties, security sources said.
Egypt's liberal coalition
issued an "urgent call" for its supporters to take to the streets in
response to Islamist protests, raising the risk of clashes between the
In Damanhour, capital of the Beheira province in the Nile Delta, 21 people were wounded in violence between the factions.
el-Ghoneimy, manager of the Damanhour general hospital said three
people had been wounded with live bullets, others were wounded with
birdshot, rocks, or had been hit with rods.
Hoda Ghaneya, a
leading female figure in the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party
(FJP) political arm, said she and two of her sons accompanying her at a
Cairo rally after Friday prayers were ready to sacrifice themselves to
"We will die not as a sacrifice for Morsi, but so the
Egyptian people recover their freedom," she told Reuters near the Rabaa
Adaweya mosque in a Cairo suburb that has been the center of Islamist
protests in the last few days.
Dozens of people were wounded in
clashes in Morsi's Nile Delta home city on Thursday, raising fears of
more of the violence in which several dozen have died in the past month.
A military source said: "We will
continue to secure the places of protest with troops, and jets if
necessary, to make sure the pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators don't
confront each other. We will let them demonstrate and go where they
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