Thousands of people took to streets across Egypt in a show of support for the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, and against the possibility of Egypt’s military chief becoming his replacement.
Protests on Friday in Cairo, Beni Suef and other areas, were organised by supporters of the Morsi, with most happening after Friday prayers. No injuries or deaths were reported.
They happened on the same day that the country’s only presidential candidate, Hamdeen Sabahi, said his campaigners would not undermine the military.
Sabahi, a leftist politician who came in third in Egypt’s 2012 presidential election, could soon find himself competing with Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s military chief, for the presidency.
Sisi, who led the removal of Morsi in July, is widely popular and expected to win the election should he choose to run.
“All hands are showing that he is not only going to stand, but he’ll win,” Zakaryya Abdel-Hady, an assistant professor of Islamic thought and culture at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera.
He added that Sisi was already running the show, and that the interim cabinet was “just part of the decor to try to convince the West that there is a civilian government”.
The military chief visited the United Arab Emirates, a strong supporter of the July removal of Morsi, on Wednesday.
During that visit he said he could not ignore demands that he run for president.
Supporters of Sisi view him as a tough leader who can restore stability after three years of unrest triggered by the 2011 uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
In January Egyptian voters approved by 98.1 percent a new constitution that grants the military extensive powers, but lacks much of the Islamist-inspired wording of the 2012 charter adopted under Morsi.
The army also gave Sisi the green light to resign from his military post in January, allowing him to run for president.
A date has not yet been announced for the presidential election.