A sense of possible confrontation wafted through Egypt's main streets and main squares on Tuesday as Islamist parties allied to President Mohammad Morsi are mobilizing followers and sympathizers behind him, while hundreds of thousands of opponents are holding their ground across the country.
Thousands of Morsi supporters converged on Al Nahada Square, just outside Egypt's oldest state-run educational institution, Cairo University, in the Giza Governorate to demonstrate support for the president and defy demands for his ouster.
"We are here to defend the votes we have cast for the president," Ashraf Eid Mohamed, a bearded 31-year-old contractor, told the Anadolu Agency.
"The problem is that if Morsi is forced out of office, no president will be able to spend more than one year in office in the future."
Behind him, hundreds of fellow protesters carried photos of the president and Egyptian flags.
"Wake up, Sisi, Morsi is my president," the protesters chanted, referring to Defense Minister Abdel Fatah Al Sissy. "Legitimacy is a red line," they threatened.
The army has given all political rivals a 48-hour ultimatum to reach a consensus and respond to the demands of millions of Egyptians who took to the streets demanding early presidential elections.
The demonstrators say Morsi had only made Egypt's economic conditions worse and polarized the country.
Hundreds of thousands of Morsi's supporters have also taken to the streets in a show of solidarity with him.
They have been camping for days in Rabaa Al Adawia Square, in the east of Cairo, near the Ittihadiya presidential palace, where anti-Morsi protestors are camping.
Here in Al Nahda Square, the demonstrators handed out leaflets to passersby of Morsi's achievements during his one year in office, including a new constitution and raising the salaries of as many as 1.9 million civil servants.
Clashes between opponents and supporters of Morsi have been reported in several areas across Cairo, as well as in several governorates across the country.
At least 25 people have already been killed in violence since June 23.
Abdullah Saad, a 25-year-old mechanic, and fellow demonstrators blasted the army’s ultimatum.
"The statement amounts to a military coup," said Hussein Salem, a 34-year-old quality supervisor at a tobacco company. "This is a war against Islam from secularists."
Nearly three kilometers away, Morsi's opponents made their presence strongly felt in the iconic Tahrir Square.
Defying the strong heat of Cairo's summer, thousands of people amassed in the square, chanting against the president.
Some of them held crossed-out photos of Morsi, while others held signs that read "Legitimacy is with the people".
Egyptian army helicopters roared in the sky, with the demonstrators hailing and waving whenever the Apache gunships flew overhead.
The army had earlier vowed to offer protection to the demonstrators.
"We have a right to call for change," insisted Fahmi Abdel Warith, a 28-year-old accountant.
"This man is a total failure."
Another demonstrator, a bank accountant as well who came to Tahrir with several of his colleagues, drew the analogy of a landlord and a tenant.
"If a tenant violates the terms of the contract the landlord gave him, the landlord has the right to kick him out," he said.
AAGüncelleme Tarihi: 03 Temmuz 2013, 09:36