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Muslim Brotherhood supporters rally in Egypt

CAIRO (AP) — Thousands of supporters of Egypt’s ousted president and his Muslim Brotherhood group marched Friday in Cairo to keep pressure on the military-backed leadership as it tries to stabilize a country roiled by political turmoil.

Supporters of Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first elected president, demonstrated in Cairo’s southern district of Maadi. Some held pictures of their fallen members. They marched on the Constitutional Court there, calling for Morsi to be reinstated and urging military leader Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to step aside.

Other scattered protests occurred across Egypt.

Morsi was overthrown along with his Muslim Brotherhood-led government in July 3 coup after millions protested against his leadership, claiming the Islamist president was incompetent and overstepped his authority during a year in power.

Since then, Brotherhood supporters have staged near-daily rallies around the country, protesting security crackdown in which hundreds have been killed and more than 2,000 of group’s members have been jailed. Morsi has been held incommunicado since his ousting and a court has ordered an outright ban on his group.

Although Brotherhood supporters have been staging rallies regularly since the overthrow, their numbers have been dwindling on the streets of Cairo as the security forces crack down and authorities fortify government institutions and the capital’s major squares.

Egypt’s riot police smashed two protest camps of Morsi supporters in mid-August, killing hundreds of protesters and touching off days of the deadliest violence since the country’s Arab Spring protests.

While the Brotherhood’s ranks appear to have thinned since, the resolve of those still protesting remains firm.

“I am here protesting because the country is being stolen,” said Mohammed Kassam, a university professor who attended a protest Friday in Cairo. “There are people who have the arms and the tanks and want to oppress people and impose their will on them.”

An umbrella group of Islamist parties, including the Brotherhood, said Friday’s rallies were the beginning of a weeklong protest campaign until Nov. 4 when Morsi is scheduled to appear in court. The campaign has been dubbed the week of “steadfastness.”

Morsi faces criminal charges accusing him of inciting the murder of rallying opponents while he was in office.

Authorities have not said whether Morsi will appear at the hearing. If he does, it will be his first public appearance since the coup.



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