December 13, 2013
Thousands of Islamists take to Egypt's streets
Thousands of supporters of overthrown Islamist president Mohamed Morsi took to the streets in towns and cities across Egypt to denounce Egypt's new military-backed rulers - their second show of mass support in four days.
Marking exactly two months since Egypt's first democratically elected leader was ousted by the army after big protests, marchers turned out in cities in the Nile Delta, in Upper Egypt and on the Suez Canal, as well as the capital, Cairo.
The army-led government has launched a furious crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood since toppling him on July 3, arresting its top leaders and killing hundreds of his supporters.
But after a brief lull, and despite a heavy security presence, Islamist groups brought thousands onto the streets again after last Friday's prayers. There were sporadic clashes with security forces, notably in Cairo, and at least seven people died.
There were no immediate reports of violence at marches, held under the slogan "The Coup is Terrorism" - a reference to the government's portrayal of its campaign to crush the Brotherhood as a fight against Islamist terrorism.
In Cairo's Nasr City, near the presidential palace, hundreds of Brotherhood supporters waving Brotherhood flags chanted "Revolution, revolution, the revolution will continue!" and "Down, down with military rule!".
Some carried pictures of "martyrs" killed in the government's crackdown, while others stood chanting next to an armoured vehicle, one of many deployed in the capital.
Many of the Brotherhood's leaders including Morsi have already been sent to trial accused of inciting violence, but the movement says it is committed to peaceful protest, and that the accusations are a pretext for the crackdown by a "putschist regime".
A military court sentenced pro-Morsi protesters to long jail terms on charges of attacking soldiers in the city of Suez, a military statement said.
The violence in Suez broke out after security forces on Aug. 14 crushed Cairo protest camps demanding Morsi's reinstatement. More than 600 Brotherhood supporters were killed, along with dozens of policemen, in the dawn operation, which triggered clashes across the country.
The statement said one person had been sentenced to life in prison for the Suez clashes, three people to 15 years in jail, and 45 others to five years.
TV channels run by the Muslim Brotherhood or sympathetic to it have already fallen victim to the government crackdown.
A Cairo court ordered the closure of the Egyptian news channel belonging to Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab broadcaster financed by Qatar, a supporter of the Brotherhood, along with three other stations run by or sympathetic to the Brotherhood.