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Egyptian president downplays pro-Morsi protests

Nov. 2, 2013 at 11:26 AM

CAIRO, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Egypt's military-backed interim president said ongoing street protests did not have the backing of the majority of the nation.

Thousands of people took part in demonstrations across Egypt Friday to show support for deposed President Mohamed Morsi ahead of his trial Monday.

President Adly Mansour told the Kuwaiti News Agency the demonstrations were aimed at destabilizing the government and were being carried out by "limited groups," Ahram Online reported Saturday.

Protests in Cairo began following Friday prayers. One march in the Egyptian capital neared the vicinity of the Al-Ittihadeya presidential palace in Heliopolis district, but was blocked by an army barricade.

Thousands of protesters in Alexandria marched through several neighborhoods.

Police fired tear gas to end clashes between pro-Morsi protesters and their opponents in Sidi Beshr. Police there arrested a number of Morsi supporters.

The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, an Islamist group that backs Morsi, said it will stage protests nationwide in the days leading to Morsi's trial on charges including incitement of murder and violence in the December 2012 presidential palace clashes.

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