Defying a crackdown, thousands of supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood marched through a Cairo suburb on Friday toward the site of their former protest camp that was crushed by security forces in August, a Reuters witness said. Soldiers and policemen boosted their presence around Rabaa al-Adaweya mosque, the larger of the Brotherhood's two former Cairo sit-ins, as the march approached, the state news agency reported.
Egypt has been gripped by political and economic turmoil since army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew Islamist Mohamed Mursi, the country's first freely elected president, on July 3 after mass protests against his rule. Hundreds of people were killed when the security forces broke up the Brotherhood sit-ins in August. Friday's protesters loudly chanted slogans calling for Sisi's downfall, and waved Egyptian flags. The Brotherhood is facing one of the toughest crackdowns in its 85-year history. Hundreds of supporters have been killed by security forces and top leaders have been jailed. But small protests are still taking place.
The Brotherhood said on its website that another group of its supporters was marching toward Tahrir Square in central Cairo. Security sources said a 2,000-strong march in the Maadi suburb south of Cairo, was headed in the direction of the square, but was still several kilometers away.