Tens of thousands of supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi marched through Cairo Friday to demand his reinstatement, even as the interim government threatens to break up their protest camps.
State TV reports Egyptian police are planning to block access to one of the camps in northern Cairo. Witnesses say Muslim Brotherhood supporters have set up sandbags and brick walls to stop police.
One Islamist leader told the crowd that Morsi supporters are ready to “shed their blood" to bring him back and protect Egypt's national security.
Interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei tells The Washington Post newspaper that Egyptian leaders want to avoid bloodshed, saying being harsh is no solution. He says the government wants talks with the Muslim Brotherhood.
But ElBaradei says Egypt is a country with a lot of anger and irrational feelings and that things have to cool down before there can be any dialogue.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has sent Deputy Secretary William Burns to Cairo. Kerry says Egypt needs to get back to what he calls a "new normal." He says the government must allow peaceful protests, but the demonstrators have a responsibility not to stop progress.
Nearly 200 people, mostly supporters of Morsi, have been killed since the Egyptian military toppled him on July 3. Morsi supporters demand his return to the presidency and the restoration of the Islamist-drafted constitution.
The country's interim government plans to hold a referendum within five months to ratify amendments to the constitution. Parliamentary elections would take place early next year, followed by a new presidential election.