The Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie spoke before tens of thousands of the movement's supporters protesting deposed President Mohamed Morsi's ouster in Cairo, and made it clear no compromise will be reached until the coup is reversed.
"Morsi is my president and your president and all Egyptians president, and I'm proud of it," Badie cried to the applause of the Islamist masses.
- Egypt's parliament dissolved, new intelligence minister appointed
- Turkey PM blasts Egypt 'coup' as enemy of democracy
- Brotherhood website: Egypt's interim president is Jewish
Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood's most important spiritual leader, roused the crowd, which broke in spontaneous chanting of "Morsi, Morsi."
"These crowds are out to support religion and to rid Egypt of the attempts to steal the revolution," Badie said.
"We'll remain in the squares in the millions until our elected president, Mohamed Morsi, is carried on our shoulders."
In his speech, Badie addressed Egypt's army and asked it to "return to Egypt": "Come back to your place in Egyptians' hearts," he implored.
Badie told the protestors that he was ready to reach an understanding with the armed forces - but only after Morsi was reinstated as president.
As a military helicopter hovered low over the crowd, Badie called on the army not to fire on its own people and said that demonstrations were stronger than tanks. "Our bear chests are stronger than bullets," he said.
Badie's rousing speech was delivered hours after the Muslim Brotherhood's supporters amassed in the capital. Earlier, the army opened fire on several hundreds of them who attempted to break into the barracks where Morsi is detained.
According to reports, at least three were killed. Five additional casualties have been reported on Friday in el-Arish, Luxor and Giza. Clashes between Morsi supporters and security services have been registered in Ismailia, el-Arish and Suez.
The Egyptian army spokesperson denied that troops opened fire on Morsi supporters, and said soldiers were using only blank rounds and teargas. It was unclear whether security forces other than the army were present.
Foreign correspondents in Cairo reported that helicopters are hovering over the crowds and confirmed the use of tear gas.
In clashes across Egypt, protesters attempted to break into government officers, and security services fired in the air in response and used tear gas to control the crowd.
The tens of thousands participating in the Muslim Brotherhood demonstration in Cairo shouted "down with the army regime," while hoisting the deposed president's photographs.
"The old regime is back… it's worse than before," said Ismail Abed al-Mukhsan, an 18-year-old student and fellow protestor. The interim president chosen by the army, Adli Mansour, he called "the army's puppet."
In response, the opposition has released an urgent call to citizens to take to the streets and stage a demonstration in support of the ouster.
The National Salvation Front, the opposition groups' umbrella organization, stated that the people must defend the June 30 revolution (the name marking the date in which the first mass protests, which eventually led to the ouster, were held).
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop