Huge Rival Rallies Clog Egypt's Cities

Demonstrators hit the streets as Morsi faces new charges
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 26, 2013 2:06 PM CDT
Huge Rival Rallies Clog Egypt's Cities
Supporters of Egypt's top military officer, Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, rally near Tahrir Square.   (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Egypt is tense today as thousands of supporters and opponents of the ousted Mohamed Morsi hold simultaneous protests. Clashes erupted outside a major mosque in the coastal city of Alexandria, with the two sides throwing stones and firing birdshot at each other. Police and army forces lobbed tear gas and deployed soldiers but were unable to break up the fighting, which killed two people and injured 24. Minor scuffles erupted in a Cairo neighborhood and in the Nile Delta city of Damietta with at least 18 injured, according to health officials.

The demonstrations come as prosecutors opened an investigation of Morsi on charges including murder and conspiracy with the Palestinian militant group Hamas. A spokesman for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood said the move to prosecute Morsi showed "the complete bankruptcy of the leaders of the bloody coup." Massive crowds, meanwhile, poured into main squares in Cairo and other cities in support of the military after the army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called for rallies. El-Sissi said days earlier he hoped for a giant public turnout to give him a mandate to stop "violence and terrorism," raising speculation he may be planning a crackdown on pro-Morsi protests. (Read more Egypt stories.)

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