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Soldiers guarding Tahrir Square joined them in chanting: "The people want the execution of the Brotherhood." A crowd beat a woman in a conservative headscarf and drove her away, believing she was a Brotherhood sympathizer.
Crowds also turned on journalists. More than a dozen journalists were beaten by the demonstrators, or detained by police for protection from angry crowds. Demonstrators chased one Egyptian female journalist, mistakenly believing she worked for satellite news broadcaster Al-Jazeera — seen as pro-Brotherhood. They pulled her hair and tried to strangle her with a scarf until police took her into a building for protection.
Security forces also dispersed rallies by secular youth activists who led the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising and who are critical of both the Islamists and the military. A number of their most prominent figures have been detained for months or sentenced to prison amid a campaign to silence even secular voices of dissent.
One prominent activist, Nazly Hussein, was detained by police on the subway as she headed to join one rally downtown, her mother Ghada Shahbendar said. Hussein’s lawyer, Amr Imam, said that when he went to see her at the police station, a policeman shoved him, pointed his rifle at him and warned him he had 10 seconds to leave or he’d shoot.
Police used tear gas to disperse one small gathering by secular activists in the Cairo neighborhood of Mohandessin, beating and kicking at least one of them, several participants said. The groups later issued an appeal to their supporters to withdraw from street protests because of "excessive violence" by security forces.
"The only thing allowed is el-Sissi revolutionaries," one of the activists, blogger Wael Khalil, said with a laugh. "Do they think that there will be working democracy this way?"
In its statement, the Brotherhood appealed to secular youth groups to unite with it in protests.
Secular youth groups, however, have shunned the Islamists, whom they equally accuse of undermining the 2011 uprising’s goals while in power.
The rallies took place in an atmosphere of fear, a day after four bombs targeting police killed six people around Cairo. Another 15 people were killed around the country Friday when Morsi’s supporters clashed with security forces. The Interior Ministry said that 237 people were arrested during those protests.
The al-Qaida-inspired group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or the Champions of Jerusalem, claimed responsibility for Friday’s bombings, warning of coming attacks and telling citizens to stay away from police stations.
"We tell our dear nation that these attacks were only the first drops of rain, so wait for what is coming," read the statement, posted on militant websites.
The group, based in the lawless Sinai Peninsula, has claimed responsibility for the failed assassination attempt on the interior minister in September and a suicide bombing in a Nile Delta city that killed 16. The group calls its attacks revenge for the killings of pro-Morsi supporters and the military offensive in Sinai.
The government has accused the Brotherhood of ultimately being behind the militant violence and declared the group a terrorist organization. It has produced no proof publicly and the group says the accusation is baseless.
But pro-government media — which means most Egyptian television stations and newspapers — tout the link and a broad segment of the public are convinced. They note the Brotherhood’s alliances with radicals while Morsi was in office, street violence by his supporters during and after his rule and the militants’ own pronouncements that they are retaliating for his ouster.
Early Saturday, a bomb exploded next to a police training institute in eastern Cairo, only damaging the facility’s walls.
Ahmed Mahmoud, an engineering student living nearby, said angry residents quickly blamed the Brotherhood.
"People were saying they will carry arms and kill all Muslim Brothers who dare to pass by," he said.
Associated Press writers Laura Dean and Maamoun Youssef contributed to this report.
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