World Bulletin / News Desk
Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi staged fresh protests on Friday, the first such demonstrations since the expiry on Thursday of a three-month government-imposed state of emergency.
Friday's rallies were called by the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, Morsi's main support bloc, to urge members of Egypt's judiciary to issue "fair" judicial rulings.
For the last 141 days, pro-democracy demonstrators have staged rallies on an almost daily basis to denounce what they describe as the July 3 "military coup" that unseated Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president.
Waving images of the ousted president, protesters marched from the Salaam Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City toward the Ittihadiya presidential palace.
Another rally set out from the Maraghi Mosque in southern Cairo's Helwan district, where marchers shouted chants decrying the exceptionally harsh prison sentences recently meted out to anti-coup protesters.
Earlier this week, 12 of the ousted president's supporters were each sentenced to 17 years in prison for attempting to storm Azhar's Cairo headquarters in October.
Similar rallies were seen in Giza and in 6th of October City on the capital's outskirts to demand Morsi's reinstatement as president.
Shouting chants against Egypt's military establishment, which is widely seen as having been behind Morsi's ouster, pro-democracy demonstrators also marched in Alexandria's Seyouf neighborhood.
Protesters flashed the now-famous Rabaa sign in memory of hundreds of pro-democracy protesters killed in the bloody August 14 dispersal of two Cairo sit-ins.
Pro-army demonstrators, meanwhile, staged their own rally near central Alexandria's Qaed Ibrahim Mosque in support of the military and army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.
Anti-coup rallies were also staged in the canal cities of Suez and Ismailia, the Nile Delta provinces of Menoufiya and Mansoura and in the southern province of Beni Sueif.
Friday's rallies come one day after the expiry of a three-month state of emergency imposed by the military-backed authorities in August.
ANTI-COUP BLOC TO PROPOSE NEW CRISIS PLAN
A coalition of groups calling for the reinstatement of ousted president Mohamed Morsi will propose a new path on Saturday with the aim of resolving Egypt's lingering political crisis.
"The National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy will unveil a new path to resolve the current crisis," Amr Farouq, a spokesman of the Wasat Party which is a member of the anti-coup bloc, told Anadolu Agency.
He said the new path will be in line with the "constitutional framework," declining to elaborate.
"The coalition will invite political powers for talks on its vision in order to resolve the crisis," he said.
But Magdi Qurqur, a leader of the anti-coup coalition, said the new drive will not include new proposals for resolving the crisis.
"We will only announce general principles on which we count in our opposition to the coup," he told AA.
Magdi Salem, another coalition leader, said the new vision "will be directed to the public opinion, not the coup leaders."
Egypt has remained in a state of turmoil since the military establishment overthrew democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against his presidency.
The unconstitutional change of government is described by the ousted president's backers as a "military coup," while supporters of the move call it a military-backed "popular uprising."
RABIA MASSACRE DEATH TOLL CONTESTED
On Thursday, forensic authority spokesman Hisham Abdel-Hamid was quoted by local media as saying that the final death toll from the two dispersals stood at 648. This figure included 627 killed during the dispersal of a main anti-coup sit-in in Cairo's Rabia al-Adawiya Square, along with 21 others killed during the dispersal of a smaller sit-in in Giza's Nahda Square.
The official death toll, however, remains far below that cited by the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, which asserts that the death toll from the Rabia sit-in alone is at least double the number.
Alaa Abul-Nasr, a leading alliance member and leader of the Gamaa Islamiya's Building and Development Party, said "The alliance's documentation committee has registered over 2,000 cases as an initial death toll. Most figures have only taken account of the dead and injured, while entirely overlooking the number of missing."
4 MILLION SIGNATURES COLLECTED
A petition campaign has gathered more than four million signatures from Egyptians opposed to the July "military coup" against elected president Mohamed Morsi.
The drive was launched in September with the aim of collecting 30 million signatures from Egyptians opposed to what they call the "military coup" against Morsi.
Founder Abdel-Rahman Mansour earlier told Anadolu Agency that the campaing aims "to prepare for January 25 [which will mark the third anniversary of the uprising that ousted autocratic president Hosni Mubarak] in Tahrir Square to demand a return to [Egypt's] pre-June 30 status."Last Mod: 16 Kasım 2013, 10:04