Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and demonstrators who oppose him clashed late Friday in central Cairo. Earlier, Egyptian troops opened fire on demonstrators in the capital who support Morsi. The clashes came during what is being called a “day of rage,” a wave of pro-Morsi protests across the country organized by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Earlier in the day the Egyptian military fired upon protesters outside the Republican Guard barracks in Cairo where Morsi is believed to be detained. A number of demonstrators were injured and some reportedly were killed when soldiers opened fire on the protesters.
The shooting came as thousands of supporters of ousted Morsi rallied across the country. History teacher Saleh Ali al Najjar said they want to restore democratic rule.
“We came from all over Egypt for one goal only: to return the democratically elected president to the palace,'' he said.
Watch related video of VOA's Sharon Behn in Cairo's Tahrir Square:
Morsi, the country's first democratically elected leader, was forced out by the military after only a year in office. He and many senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested, and the Brotherhood's TV station and newspaper have been shut down.
Military leaders say they were acting on behalf of the nation and the thousands of anti-government protesters who still occupy Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Anti-Morsi demonstrators, like businessman Abdel Meguid Issa, say they are frustrated with the struggling economy and Morsi's Islamist agenda.
"The Brotherhood are not going on the right track. They are our brothers. They are Egyptians, but they take it from the point of view of Islam. We don’t want Islam here. We want economic reform,” said Issa.
While the Muslim Brotherhood called for peaceful protests, Islamic militants staged multiple attacks on security forces in Egypt's troubled Sinai Peninsula.
In Cairo, the chief of the Muslim Brotherhood, released from detention, vowed to end military rule.
Egypt’s military has called for reconciliation and promised new elections, but the violence on the streets of Cairo has escalated.