Thousands of Egyptians protesting against military rule have gathered in several areas of Cairo after Friday prayers, despite tight security.
Security and military forces deployed around the capital, closing off traffic in some major thoroughfares and in the city centre.
In the southern Maadi district, several thousand protesters marched from the Al-Rayan Mosque to Arab Square. They chanted “coup, coup” and “down with military rule”.
The rallies were seen as a test of whether supporters of the deposed President Mohamed Morsi can keep up their pressure despite an intensive security crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, from which he hails.
“When we spoke to the protesters they said this was a deliberate attempt to widen support among Egyptians for the protest movement. A lot of people say this was not just about Morsi but about a coup and a fear that any democratic advances in Egypt would be taken away by the military,” he said.
Protesters also gathered to protest against military rule in several other Egyptian cities.
Interior Ministry sources told Al Jazeera that fighting erupted in Tanta city of Gharbia governorate, between pro-Morsi protesters and local residents, when Morsi supporters put up pictures of the deposed president in Said street. One person was killed during the fighting, sources said.
The demonstrations came a day after deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak was released from prison and placed under house arrest in a military hospital in southern Cairo, adding to tensions.
They are also the first since the Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohamed Badie was arrested and accused of instigating violence. Nearly 80 Brotherhood members, including senior leaders and spokesmen, were arrested on the eve of the Friday rallies.