World Bulletin/News Desk
Two military helicopters dropped "thank-you" cards on protesters assembled in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday in response to a call by army chief and Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi.
Thousands of people converged on Tahrir to join mass rallies called for by al-Sisi to give him a mandate to "confront violence and terrorism."
Protesters chanted pro-army slogans, including "The army and people are united."
Demonstrators volunteering to guard the protest site have stepped up security at the exit points of Cairo's underground stations located inside the square.
Newcomers to the iconic square are being subject to security checks.
Three armored vehicles, meanwhile, are stationed on streets leading to the square.
The Interior Ministry has dispatched anti-riot police trucks to streets adjacent to Tahrir and the nearby US embassy to protect pro-army protesters.
Inside Tahrir Square, banners have been hung bearing pro-army slogans.
Protesters have said that they plan to collect signatures following Friday prayers authorizing al-Sisi to disperse rival sit-ins staged by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo's Rab'a al-Adaweya Square and Giza's Nahda Square.
Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, was overthrown by the army on July 3 after mass protests against his regime.
Since then, his supporters have been staging daily mass demonstrations and sit-ins to demand his reinstatement.
Pro-Morsi demonstrators are holding mass protests today as part of an ongoing campaign against what they view as a "military coup against constitutional legitimacy."
On the other hand, a military helicopter late Thursday dropped leaflets on Morsi loyalists arrayed in the square, urging them not to resort to violence against their political rivals.Last Mod: 26 Temmuz 2013, 17:03