CAIRO Thousands of Egyptians marched across the country Friday to denounce the rule of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, in a show of defiance to hardline Muslim clerics who issued religious edicts this week calling for the killing of opposition leaders.
Carrying Egyptian flags and pictures of slain protesters, demonstrators took to the streets in Cairo, Alexandria, the restive Suez Canal city of Port Said and several Nile Delta cities where the Brotherhood’s popularity has been sharply eroding.
“Down with the rule of the Guide,” the crowds chanted, referring not to Morsi but to the top leader of the Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, who critics say is calling the shots for the president from behind the scenes.
In Cairo, protesters gathered at the central Tahrir Square and outside the presidential palace, where clashes turned violent last week and cameras filmed a shocking scene of a protester stripped naked and beaten by security forces.
In Kafr el-Sheik, some 110 miles north of Cairo, riot police fired tear gas at protesters rallying in front of the office of governor Saad el-Husseini, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In Alexandria, protesters tore down a Brotherhood sign at the group’s office and set it on fire. In Tanta, also north of Cairo, security forces fired tear gas canisters in clashes with rock-throwing protesters.