Egypt braced for more protests following prayers on first Ramadan Friday

Muslim Brotherhood tells its members to take to the streets, as the US warns interim government against “arbitrary arrests” of opposition

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called for a new swathe of protests following an afternoon of prayer on the first Friday of Ramadan.

Thousands of supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi are already gathering in a square in Cairo, amid fears that clashes could add to the 90 people already killed in demonstrations in the past week.

Yesterday the country’s interim government issued arrest warrants for the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, along with nine other Islamists that it accuses of inciting violence.

And the measures seem only to have caused more anger, as the Brotherhood said it will not stop protesting until Morsi is returned to power.

Cairo is expected to once again see the worst of the violence, as both supporters and opponents of the former leader gather, and there have been nearly non-stop demonstrations at the Republican Guard compound where officials say he is being held.

On Thursday the US warned the interim leadership against “arbitrary arrests” of their political opponents.

And as it continues to review its policy on providing aid and weapons to Egypt, the US State Department said the detentions contradicted assurances its officials had been given by members of the interim government and military.

A spokesperson for the White House said that the only way the country could progress would be if “all parties are encouraged and allowed to participate”.

Press secretary Jay Carney said: “We've made clear that arbitrary arrests are not anything that we can support, because if you're arresting individuals from one group or one party, you're working against yourself if your effort is to be inclusive as you make this transition back to a civilian, democratically-elected government.”

And Jen Psaki from the US State Department said: “If politicized arrests and detentions continue, it is hard to see how Egypt will move beyond this crisis.”

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