CAIRO: Egyptian Islamists gathered for a show of strength in Cairo on Friday ahead of planned opposition protests calling for President Mohamed Morsi to step down, highlighting the tense political divide in the Arab world’s most populous state.
Dozens of parties including Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)—the political arm of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood—have called for a demonstration outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City neighborhood afternoon prayers.
The rally is a intended as a show of support by the Islamists ahead of planned June 30 protests to call for an early presidential election. Morsi has been in office for just one year.
The Islamists have condemned the anti-Morsi protests as a coup against democracy and accused the opposition of seeking to sow chaos.
“Democratically elected presidents are never removed through protests,” Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad said.
A campaign dubbed Tamarod (rebellion in Arabic) first called for the anti-Morsi rally to coincide with the first anniversary of his becoming president.