Mohamed Dawood, a 23-year-old activist and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, headed to Rabaa al-Adawiya Square Friday evening after work, just like he has been doing for almost four weeks.
He is protesting the powerful army's ouster of Egypt's first freely elected President Mohamed Morsi, even though he remains at odds with the Brotherhood.
"I've made a decision to attach myself to the cause and distance myself from people who represent it. This is why I support the Brotherhood's demands even though I am against them," Dawood told the Anadolu Agency.
The army ousted Morsi on July 3 following mass protests against his regime, suspended the constitution and installed Adly Mansour, the head of the Constitutional Court, as interim president.
Since then, Morsi supporters have been staging almost daily demonstrations and sit-ins nationwide to demand his reinstatement.
This Friday, however, is a notable day of protest for Dawood and other Morsi supporters.
Mass counter-demonstrations are being staged in Tahrir Square in response to a contentious speech by army chief and Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, calling on Egyptians to take to the streets Friday to give him a mandate to "confront terrorism and violence."
"In his call for protest, al-Sisi was basically asking for popular support in order to crack down on Islamists," said Dawood.
"Ironically, he did the same thing I wished Morsi would have done to combat the symbols of the corrupt Mubarak regime, which he failed to do," he added, reflecting on his first impression upon listening to al-Sisi's speech on Wednesday.
Dawood, who grew up in a Muslim Brotherhood family but decided to leave the group in 2010, participated in the January 25 revolution which toppled Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country with an iron fist for nearly 30 years.
He also took part in seminal protests during the military-run transitional period, most of which turned into deadly clashes with security forces.
However, when the call for the 30 June protests to oust Morsi came out he saw it as an attempt by the so-called deep state to bring back the symbols of the Mubarak regime.
"Revolutionary legitimacy provided by the 25 January revolution means two things to me: The total, radical purging of the Mubarak regime and the respect of the ballot box," Dawood stressed.
Morsi's removal has upped the magnitude of Egypt's political deadlock, continuing since late last year, between Islamists and their liberal and leftist political rivals.
"I was in Rabaa when I heard al-Sisi's announcement on 3 July and it left me in shock. It was one of the hardest moments in my life," he remembered.
"For a while afterwards I was very confused, I stopped trusting any information I read and my thoughts began to take an extremist turn based on emotions," Dawood added.
"I was watching the Mubarak regime being reproduced before my eyes."
Dawood, who campaigned for former Brotherhood leader Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh in the presidential race, insists many of his revolutionary friends shared the same sentiment.
"Many of my liberal friends who supported the 30 June protests called me after al-Sisi's speech and told me they wanted to join me in Rabaa Square."
Dawood, who left the Brotherhood when he saw that its leadership was "sacrificing principles for organizational interests," was equally disappointed to see liberal figures back the military's roadmap.
"I especially had a lot of respect for Mustafa Hegazi [interim president's political affairs advisor] but his hatred and personal conflicts with Islamists led him to default on his principles and agree to be part of the military-installed government."
Most Egyptian liberal opposition figures and youth protest groups have mobilized for the 30 June rallies and backed the military's roadmap.
They argued that the army's intervention prevented the country from slipping into possible civil war that would have been triggered by Morsi's rule, whom they saw was increasingly excluding non-Islamists from decision-making.
"But I have not lost hope," says a confident Dawood.
"Perhaps the only good thing out of these circumstances is that they will separate those who remained committed to their principles from those who sold out."
AALast Mod: 27 Temmuz 2013, 11:21