Mohammed Mursi is a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood and former president of Egypt, assuming office on 30 June 2012. He was unseated in a military coup on 3 July 2013 by the Egyptian defence minister Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi following widespread democracy protests across the country and calls for his resignation by leading opposition party members.
Mursi supporters offered protection if they end sit-ins in Cairo
Associated Press in Cairo
Authorities offered "safe passage and protection" yesterday for thousands of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Mursi if they end two large sit-ins in Cairo.
The Interior Ministry's offer appears to be the first step by Egypt's new leadership to clear away the Mursi supporters from where they have been camped since shortly before he was toppled by the army on July 3.
The move came as an influential ultra-conservative cleric warned that using violence to break up the protests will lead to more bloodshed.
The organisers of the sit-ins outside the Rabaah al-Adawiya Mosque in eastern Cairo and a smaller one across the city near Cairo University's main campus in Giza portray the protests as evidence of the enduring support for Mursi's once-dominant Muslim Brotherhood. On Wednesday, Egypt's military-backed cabinet ordered the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police, to disperse the sit-ins, arguing that they posed a threat to national security and terrorised citizens.
"The Interior Ministry ... calls on those in the squares of Rabaah al-Adawiya and Nahda to listen to the sound of reason, side with the national interest and quickly leave," Interior Ministry spokesman Hany Abdel-Latif said in a televised address.
"Whoever responds to this call will have a safe passage and protection," he added.
The offer raised the possibility of another round of violence if security forces move on the Mursi supporters. By yesterday afternoon, there were no significant actions at either camp.
An army helicopter flew low over the eastern Cairo sit-in, where protesters spoke of being ready for martyrdom.
Many wore helmets and carried sticks. At one end of the camp, a second wall of sandbags and bricks was erected.
Egyptian police have a track record of deadly crackdowns on street protests, and Wednesday's cabinet move effectively gave security forces the mandate to act as they see fit.
Al-Jazeera broadcast an emotional appeal by influential cleric Mohammed Hasaan, who warned the military that a bloody confrontation would plunge it into conflict with Islamists.