ShareThis Page

100,000 Morsy backers flex their muscle

| Friday, June 21, 2013, 6:33 p.m.
Egyptian men kiss a picture of President Mohammed Morsi rally in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, June 21, 2013. Tens of thousands of Islamists supporting Egypt's president staged a show of force ahead of massive protests later this month by the opposition, chanting 'Islamic revolution' and warning of a new and bloody bout of turmoil. Adding to the combustible mix, the U.S. ambassador in Egypt gets drawn into Egypt's treacherous politics when comments interpreted as critical of the opposition spark outrage, with one activist telling the diplomat to 'shut up and mind your own business.' (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

CAIRO — More than 100,000 supporters of Egypt's Islamist president staged a show of force Friday ahead of huge protests later this month by the opposition, chanting “Islamic revolution!” and warning of a new and bloody bout of turmoil.

Adding to the combustible mix, comments by the U.S. ambassador that were interpreted as critical of the opposition's planned protests sparked outrage, with one activist telling the diplomat to “shut up and mind your own business.”

The huge gathering was ostensibly called by Islamists to denounce violence, but it took on the appearance of a war rally instead. Participants, many of them bearded and wearing robes or green bandanas, vowed in chants to protect Mohamed Morsy against his opponents. Some who addressed the crowd spoke of smashing opposition protesters on June 30, the anniversary of Morsy's assumption of power.

“We want to stress that we will protect the legitimacy with our blood and souls,” declared Mohammed el-Beltagi, a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Morsy hails.

Most participants were bused in from elsewhere in the Egyptian capital or from far-flung provinces. They waved Egypt's red, white and black flag as well as the green banner of Morsy's Muslim Brotherhood and posters of the president. Many raised their fists.

Brotherhood members in red helmets and carrying white plastic sticks manned makeshift checkpoints, searching bags and checking IDs as demonstrators streamed into the venue.

Friday's rally was the latest evidence of the schism that has torn Egypt apart in the two years since autocrat Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising. That division has descended the country into deadly street battles.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.