CAIRO - Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and the Anti-Coup Alliance called for another day of protest Sunday, as authorities dismissed international criticism over their violent crackdown on opponents.
Interim foreign minister Nabil Fahmy said Sunday the international community has been silent about the “criminal acts” of the protesters.
Challenges to the Islamists and anti-government protesters continue to mount - with the interim government mulling a possible ban on the Muslim Brotherhood - and other Islamists reportedly arrested and killed.
Still, supporters turned out overnight in rallies across the country, defying curfew in Alexandria, Minya and Helwan, just south of the capital.
The marches came after a day that saw the siege of a Cairo mosque by security forces and civilian supporters. Protesters had sought refuge in the al-Fath mosque in Ramses Square, but the stand-off appeared to end without the devastating loss of life we've seen in other confrontations in recent days.
The government remained on the offensive, calling their operations a move against “terrorism.” That seems to be piling on to the rhetoric of state media in the demonization of the largely Islamist anti-military forces.
And as apparent confirmation - authorities said they had arrested Sinai-based jihadist Mohamed Zawahri -- brother of al-Qaida chief Ayman Zawahiri -- at a checkpoint near Cairo.
A presidential advisor spoke of the “black flag” of al-Qaida being lifted in protests. It's also the banner used by many different ultra-conservative Muslims.
But there are millions of Brotherhood followers who are ordinary citizens who remain defiant because their freely elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted by the military.
And they are now facing another opponent - increasing numbers of pro-security vigilantes - armed with everything from sticks and machetes to hand and machine guns, adding another volatile element to the mix.