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Protests Heat Up in Egypt

Supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi are massing in Cairo, renewing fears of potential violence ahead of even bigger protests planned in the coming days.

Thousands of supporters of Mr. Morsi demonstrated Friday in a show of support for the embattled president, vowing to stay on the streets to protect his legitimacy.

Gathering in front of a mosque in the outlying district of Nasr City during Friday prayers, many broke into periodic chants of "Islamic rule, Islamic rule."



Opponents, meanwhile, have been gathering in growing numbers in Cairo's Tahrir Square, waving Egyptian flags and calling for Mr. Morsi's departure. They accuse the president and his Muslim Brotherhood movement of trying to undermine secular rights and have called for an early presidential election.

Anti-Morsi protests also took place Friday in Egypt's second largest city, Alexandria.

Bigger opposition protests are planned for Sunday, the one-year anniversary of Mr. Morsi's presidency.



Egyptian military officials have urged both sides to refrain from violence and settle their differences through dialogue, but clashes between the two sides Thursday left one member of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood dead.

The Reuters news agency reports at least 36 people were wounded in clashes in Alexandria.

Battles between Morsi supporters and opponents in the provincial regions of Fayyoum, Sharqiya and Dhekeliya left at least three dead and 300 wounded in the last 48 hours. At least one Muslim Brotherhood political office was attacked and burned, near Cairo.

Egyptian opposition leader Amr Moussa Friday urged Mr. Morsi to respect the will of the people.



"He should take the voice of the people seriously and the protests, the angry comments, as an expression, major expression of dissatisfaction. Please take that seriously and accept the early elections."



Mr. Morsi addressed the nation Wednesday, admitting to making some mistakes but offering few compromises.

Moussa called it a miscalculation.



"They don't want to recognize that there is anger and those are all people who are being pushed and directed by others. And they are missing the point, they are missing a major point in this."



Mr. Morsi took the stage in Cairo's Tahrir Square on June 30 last year as a jubilant crowd celebrated him as the nation's first freely elected leader.

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