London, Asharq Al-Awsat—As Islamist protesters held rallies across the country calling for the return of deposed president Mohamed Mursi, Adly Mansour vowed to protect Egypt against those seeking chaos and violence in his first public address as president.
Speaking in a pre-recorded message on state TV, Mansour said: “We are going through a critical stage and some want us to move towards chaos and we want to move towards stability. Some want a blood path.”
“We will fight a battle for security until the end. We will preserve the revolution,” he added.
Mansour’s speech came ahead of the Muslim Brotherhood seeking to mobilize Mursi supporters across the country on Friday for a protest dubbed “Breaking the Coup.” Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Mohammed Badie issued a statement calling on Egypt’s military to reconsider its decision and “return to righteousness . . . and accept the will of the people.”
Thousands of pro-Mursi supporters gathered in Cairo’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square, chanting slogans and waving flags. “Tonight, tonight, tonight, Sisi is going down tonight,” the man leading the chants is reported to have said, while a huge banner depicting an image of the bearded Mursi against the backdrop of the Egyptian flag, read: “Together to support legitimacy.”
The Egyptian army blocked streets leading to the Republican Guard headquarters, where many believe that deposed president is being held, in Cairo on Friday. Egyptian state TV reported that Mursi supporters were marching to the barracks, while a military spokesman warned against violence.
At least 400 protesters are reported to have marched through northern Sinai Peninsula’s main city of El-Arish. However, not all of Friday’s rallies were pro-Mursi. The Tamarod (Rebellion) youth movement also held a rally in Cairo dubbed the “People against Terrorism” rally. The Tamarod movement blames Mursi supporters for the recent violence that has gripped the country.
At least 99 people are believed to have been killed in violence since Mursi’s ouster, more than half of them when troops fired on Islamist protesters outside the Republican Guard barracks in Cairo on July 8.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters are holding a round-the-clock vigil outside Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in eastern Cairo, demanding Mursi’s reinstatement. Officials from within the group earlier announced that they would accept EU mediation in talks to resolve the political crisis, but stressed that they will remain in the streets until Mursi is reinstated. This is the first time that the Brotherhood has proposed such negotiations since Mursi’s ouster.