President Morsi supporters renew mass protests in Cairo in show of support for ousted Muslim Brotherhood leader

Thousands have gathered in two Muslim Brotherhood camps despite warnings to abandon the protest

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The Independent Online

Supporters of ousted President Morsi are marching again today as part of renewed mass protests in Cairo against the removal of Egypt's first democratically elected leader.

The Anti-Coup Alliance and Freedom and Justice Party were among Muslim Brotherhood supporters who dubbed the demonstrations “Egypt against the coup”.

Morsi supporters gathered in their thousands in two Cairo based Muslim Brotherhood camps, defying military warnings to abandon their protests or face action from security forces.

Young men wearing crash helmets formed a first line of defence behind barricades erected from sands and brick. Diplomats, rights groups and Egyptian religious leaders called for authorities to help avoid more bloodshed, following the deaths of over 300 since Mr Morsi was ousted.

European Union envoy Bernardino Leon warned on Thursday that the EU would not easily accept the use of violence to break up the protest camp. Efforts should be made to reach a political solution by involving moderates on both sides, he said.

Human Rights Watch agreed the army-led government should halt any plans to disperse the Muslim Brotherhood camp by force.

“To avoid another bloodbath, Egypt's civilian rulers need to ensure the ongoing right of protesters to assemble peacefully, and seek alternatives to a forcible dispersal of the crowds,” said Nadim Houry, HRW's deputy Middle East director.

Army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali reiterated the military did not desire a political role but were acting “to support the Egyptian people in their revolution”.

In an interview with Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Pan-Arab newspaper, he said people had the right to demonstrate peacefully.

“But these demonstrations have departed from a peaceful context and tend toward violent acts in many cases,” he said.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood also threw fresh criticism at US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, for saying the Egyptian military had been “restoring democracy” when it toppled Mr Morsi.

“We totally reject these statements and we are very disappointed in them,” said Mohamed Ali Bishr, a senior brotherhood leader and a minister in Mr Morsi's former government.

“The United States is a country that speaks of democracy and human rights and they say something like that. I hope that they rethink their position and correct it,” he told Reuters.

The US has so far avoided referring to it as a coup.

Mr Morsi was deposed on 3 July following the demands made by millions that he be removed from power, with many arguing that his year-long rule was marred by political failings and the concentration of power into his Islamist group.