An alliance of supporters backing ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi have called for a fresh round of sit-in protests around the country, raising already heightened tensions following the outlawing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In a statement released by Egypt’s National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, the 18 days of national sit-ins start Saturday and lead up to February 11, marking the four-year anniversary of the end of autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule over Egypt.
Demonstrations during the same time frame four years ago ushered in the democratically-elected Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.
The pro-Morsi group says its protests are aimed at toppling the “military rule” that removed Morsi from power on July 3, 2013.
Since the Muslim Brotherhood’s removal, supporters have held daily protests across the country. Thousands of Islamists have been arrested and hundreds killed, with authorities accusing the group of being behind militant violence. The group was effectively outlawed under a new constitution voted in by 98.1-percent last week.
A fresh wave of violence erupted on Friday, when a truck bomb went off in the capital, Cairo, killing 6 and injuring dozens. That bombing was one of several within a 10-hour period that targeted police and other officials.
After the blast, angry Cairo residents took to the streets, joining police to confront Muslim Brotherhood protesters. Fourteen people were killed in nationwide clashes.
Many fear the military government will use an increase in bloodshed leading up to the four-year anniversary to put stricter controls in place and solidify their power.
Government supporters are also planning giant rallies on Saturday to show their backing for the military – and to call for army chief el-Sissi to run for president.