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Pro-military masses in Cairo wave banners saying “Obama Out! Putin in!”
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators filled Cairo’s streets and squares Friday, July 26 in rival rallies shortly after deposed president Mohamed Morsi was formally charged and detained for 15 days. Tahrir Square was packed with crowds responding to Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s call for a mandate to support the military fight on “terrorists.” Another huge crowd of Morsi supporters packed the streets around the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Nasser City.
Instead of directing their ire at the overthrown Muslim Brotherhood, the pro-military demonstrators shouted “Bye Bye America!” as huge placards waved over their heads depicting as a threesome Gen. El-Sisi, Vladimir Putin and Gemal Abdel Nasser, who ruled Egypt in the 60s in close alliance with the Soviet Union.
Their rivals in a separate part of Cairo chanted “Sisi out! Morsi is president! Down with the army!”
In Alexandria, five people were killed in clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and opponents.
The anti-American banners represented a message: No matter if President Barack Obama denies the Egyptian people US support because of the military’s steps against the Muslim Brotherhood, Cairo has an option in Moscow.
Reports began appearing Friday morning on the social networks including Facebook from sources close to Putin that Moscow is considering supplying Egypt with advanced fighter bombers to replace the F-16 planes, whose delivery Obama suspended Wednesday, July 24. This was a gesture to show the US President’s displeasure over Gen El-Sisi’s rejection of the demand to release the ousted president and integrate the Muslim Brotherhood in the interim government.
The military gave the Muslim Brotherhood an ultimatum to endorse the new situation by Friday. The Brotherhood, whose supporters have maintained a sit-in in Nasser City for 20 days, did not respond.