After a week of crackdowns on protesters supporting Egypt's ousted president, the country's military has vowed that it will not tolerate further violence. Hundreds of people have been killed over the past week.
At a gathering of military leaders, Interim Defense Minister General Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi called for the inclusion of the former president's Islamist supporters in Egypt's political future. El-Sissi had led the July 3 coup that removed Mohammed Morsi from power.
"There is room for everyone in Egypt," el-Sissi said, according to the army's official Facebook page. However, the general also cautioned that "we will not stand by silently watching the destruction of the country and the people or the torching of the nation and terrorizing of the citizens."
Earlier on Sunday, news agencies had reported that armored vehicles had been deployed in particular around the building in Cairo that houses Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court. An Islamist alliance led by the Muslim Brotherhood has called on its supporters to stage marches from major mosques in the capital to the courthouse.
Supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi also planned to hold protests in several other districts of Cairo. Video footage broadcast on international news television stations on Sunday showed that though traffic appeared to be flowing normally, troops and armored vehicles were also deployed to some parts of the city.
Sunday's planned rallies are to be part of a series of demonstrations that organizers have dubbed a "week of departure" to protest against the military as well as the civilian government it installed.
Meanwhile, state media report that security forces arrested 56 Muslim Brotherhood officials in the early hours of Sunday. It also reported that, of 1,000 people previously arrested in connection with this week's protests, about 250 would face charges of murder, attempted murder or terrorism.
At least 173 people died in Friday's "day of rage," called by the Brotherhood and its supporters to protest against police operations on Wednesday to break up two pro-Morsi sit-ins. More than 700 people are reported to have died in clashes across the country since Wednesday.
Egypt has been deeply split ever since the military ousted the democratically elected Morsi on June 3. This followed mass protests against the president and his government, which had only been in power for about a year.
Shortly after it seized power in July, the military appointed an interim civilian government meant to lead the country until fresh elections, which it has promised will be held by early next year.
pfd/mkg ( Reuters, dpa, AP)