Egyptians flood streets to demand Morsi's ouster in biggest protests since revolution
CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
gyptian protesters pray during a demonstration against President Mohammed Morsi in Tahrir Square in Cairo, June 30. AP photoEgyptians flooded the streets on June 30 calling on President Mohamed Morsi to resign on the anniversary of his turbulent first year in power, in the biggest protests Egypt has seen since the 2011 revolution.
A sea of jubilant protesters converged on Cairo's Tahrir Square and the large avenue outside the presidential palace, as well as in several others squares of the capital as army helicopters circled overhead.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters had taken to the streets in Cairo alone.
A military source said that "Millions" of protesters were in the streets demanding Morsi's resignation, citing army estimates. "It is the biggest protest in Egypt's history," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The source said pro-Morsi protesters who gathered at a rival demonstration in Cairo's Nasr City neighbourhood were estimated to number around 25,000.
As chants of "Leave!" rang around the capital, the presidency insisted that dialogue was the only way out of the crisis.
"Dialogue is the only way through which we can reach an understanding... The presidency is open to a real and serious national dialogue," presidential spokesman Ehab Fahmy told reporters.
'The second revolution'
Anti-Morsi protests were also being staged in the coastal city of Alexandria, the Nile Delta cities of Mansura, Menuf, Tanta and Mahalla, the canal cities of Suez and Port Said and in the president's hometown of Zagazig.
In Tahrir, protesters waved red cards and Egyptian flags as patriotic songs boomed from large speakers.
"The people want the ouster of the regime," the protesters chanted, echoing the signature slogan of the 2011 revolt that ousted Hosni Mubarak and brought Morsi to power.
"This is the second revolution and Tahrir is the symbol of the revolution," said carpenter Ibrahim Hammouda, who came from the northern city of Damietta for the protest.
Egypt's main opposition coalition urged protesters demanding the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi to stay on the streets until their goals are achieved.
In a statement entitled "Revolution Statement 1", they urged "all the revolutionary forces and all citizens to maintain their peaceful (rallies) in all the squares and streets and villages and hamlets of the country... until the last of this dictatorial regime falls."
Supporters also gather
Meanwhile, Morsi supporters had held days of demonstrations in a show of strength and vowed to continue doing so to defend his legitimacy, raising fears of confrontations.
But Sunday's anti-government protests eclipsed their gathering in Cairo's Nasr City neighbourhood.
Police and troops have deployed at key buildings nationwide, security officials said, and the health ministry said hospitals are on high alert in case of violence. Banks and most offices closed for the day.
Morsi, previously a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader, is Egypt's first freely elected president, catapulted to power by the 2011 uprising that ended three decades of authoritarian Mubarak rule.
His opponents accuse him of betraying the revolution by concentrating power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and of sending the economy into free fall.
Cairo's Muslim Brotherhood HQ attacked with petrol bombs
Meanwhile, the headquarters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood was attacked with petrol bombs, the Islamist movement and security officials said.
A group of around 150 "thugs" attacked the building in the Moqqattam neighbourhood with molotov cocktails, birdshot and stones, said Gehad al-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood.