Thousands of Egyptians descend on Tahrir Square to call for President Mohamed Mursi to step down – against a backdrop of violent unrest across Egypt.
Later on Sunday protestors are due to march on the presidential palace. President Mursi’s supporters are also expected to be out in force to counter the protests, and thousands have staged a sit-in since Friday in front of the Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque near the presidential palace.
I have come for one reason only – one way or another Mursi will fall. Mohamed al-Saey, protestor
President Mursi’s opponents have accused him and the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party of seeking to dominate Egypt’s democratic transition at the expense of national interest.
Protester Ahmed Shawqi said: “We elected him so that he would provide security, to provide food, to provide electricity, and petrol and all of these other things. My basic needs.
“But after one year in power and years after the revolution he hasn’t provided anything. He hasn’t done anything. So we have to bring down the entire Muslim Brotherhood, not just Mursi.”
Mohamed al-Saey, also in Tahrir Square, said: “I have come for one reason only – one way or another Mursi will fall. But we have come today to tell America and Europe that the person you chose, we will remove. We, the Egyptian people have come, to get rid of Mohamed Mursi.”
Several people have been killed in clashes across Egypt in the build up to Sunday’s mass rally.
In an interview published in the The Guardian, Mr Mursi said he had no plans to meet the protesters’ demand for early presidential election.
“If we changed someone in office who (was elected) according to constitutional legitimacy – well, there will (be) people or opponents opposing the new president too, and a week or a month later, they will ask him to step down,” he said.
“There is no room for any talk against this constitutional legitimacy.”
At Muslim Brotherhood rally Cairo, noisy and fun, though they see today as democracy imperilled via protest and plot.
— Jonathan Rugman (@jrug) June 30, 2013
Soldiers, backed by armoured vehicles and wearing combat gear, have been deployed in some of Cairo’s suburbs. Last week Defense Minister General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi warned President Mursi and his opponents to reach a compromise, saying that the military would intervene to prevent the nation from entering a “dark tunnel.”
Adding to President Mursi’s troubles, eight lawmakers resigned on Saturday in protest at his policies.