Dozens of thousands of supporters of Egypt’s presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq gathered on Friday in Cairo’s Nasr City district to demand that Shafiq be declared the winner of last weekend’s presidential race and protest against Islamist forces struggling for power in the country, local television reported.
The demonstration took place at the Unknown Soldier Memorial and the tomb of President Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated by a radical Islamist in 1981.
The demonstrators chanted anti-Islamist slogans, protesting against Egypt turning into what they say would be a theocratic state is case the Muslim Brotherhood movement and its presidential candidate Mohammed Mursi come to power.
Protesters, holding aloft banners branded with Shafiq’s image, chanted “Down with the rule of the Supreme Guide” and “No to Brotherhood, no to Salafists; they market in the name of religion,” the al-Ahram daily reported.
During his election campaign, Mursi, a 60-year-old U.S.-trained engineer, has promised to implement Islamic Sharia law in Egypt, which has worried secularists and the country’s Coptic Christian minority.
Slogans in support of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) were also heard during the demonstration. The rally blocked Nasr Street, leading to considerable traffic jams in surrounding areas, al-Ahram said.
Meanwhile, Mursi supporters have continued their demonstration on Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the center of last year’s revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt’s Supreme Central Election Commission is planning to announce the results of the June 16-17 run-off presidential vote on Sunday afternoon. Both Mursi and Shafiq, who was the last prime minister under Mubarak, have claimed victory in the elections.
The ruling military council, which has been in power in Egypt since Mubarak’s ouster, has refused to publicly support any of the candidates.