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Morsi Supporters Assemble In Defiance Of Ouster

  • RFE/RL

Tens of thousands of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi have gathered in Cairo calling for his reinstatement, as anti-Morsi protesters also prepared to stage large rallies.

Pro-Morsi demonstrators massed outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo's Nasr City neighborhood on July 12 and chanted against the military while pledging allegiance to Morsi.

Describing the ouster as a coup, Safwat Hegazi, a prominent leader of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, urged the crowds to refuse any form of collaboration with the military-appointed interim leadership.

"Everyone who cooperates with those who are carrying out this coup, are traitors of this revolution," he said. "We do not recognize this government, and any party that agrees to take part in this government is a party that endorses coups and is a party of dictators, a political party that stands by the traitors instead of standing by the revolutionaries.''

Anti-Morsi activists have also called for large rallies after Friday prayers, in Cairo's Tahrir Square and at the Ittihadiya presidential palace, with a mass iftar -- the breaking of the Muslim fast -- planned at sundown.

Meanwhile, the military-backed interim leadership pressed ahead with efforts to form a new administration.

Meanwhile, acting Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said on July 12 that he will start talks on forming a new government on July 14-15 and will likely have a cabinet sworn in next week.

Beblawi, a liberal former finance minister, was named interim premier after the army ousted Morsi on July 3, following huge protests against the Islamist leader -- Egypt's first elected president.

The interim government would lead the country under an army "road map" to restore civilian rule.

In a separate development on July 12, Germany called for Morsi's release. A German foreign ministry spokesman told reporters, "We call for an end to the restrictions on Mr. Morsi's whereabouts."

Egypt's foreign ministry has said Morsi is being held in a "safe place, for his safety" and has not yet been charged.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters