Egypt Islamists rally ahead of Morsi trial

Islamists held protests on Friday and clashed with police in the Egyptian city of Alexandria ahead of the start of the trial of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

The pro-Morsi coalition that called for the protests said it would hold a rally on Monday outside the court where Morsi is expected to appear.

The coalition, which demands Morsi's reinstatement, also called for rallies across Egypt starting on Friday.

Protesters clashed with police who used tear gas in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, a security official said.

Police arrested 60 protesters, the official said.

The clashes came a day after police arrested 20 female Islamist activists in Alexandria after they scuffled with bystanders during a protest, another official said.

In the Nile Delta city of Zaqaziq, five people were wounded when pro-Morsi protesters clashed with civilian opponents, the official MENA news agency reported.

In Cairo, hundreds of Islamists protested outside the main presidential palace as soldiers and police looked on, an AFP correspondent said.

"We want the true democracy that Egypt had when Morsi was elected. What we see now is not true democracy," said Mohammed, a doctor, pointing towards the tanks and security personnel stationed outside the palace.

The crowd chanted "Morsi, Morsi, we want you back!"

"We will protest peacefully on Monday also, but God only knows what will happen," said the doctor, carrying his four-year-old son on his shoulders.

Interior ministry officials say 20,000 policemen will be deployed that day to guard the south Cairo police academy hosting the trial and to secure Morsi's transport to the makeshift court room.

"The mass rally on Monday... should be outside the (Police Officers' Academy) building in Tora," the Anti-Coup Coalition, which is led by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, said in a statement.

Morsi, held at a secret location since the military overthrew him on July 3, is charged with inciting the murder of protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

He is to be tried along with 14 other defendants.

The Islamist's supporters have been battered by a police crackdown since his ouster. About 1,000 people have been killed in clashes and more than 2,000 arrested.

The campaign of arrests of Islamists has left much of their leadership in jail and restricted their ability to organise mass protests.

The Anti-Coup Coalition says it believes in peaceful protest, but it has not shied away from confronting the police.

On October 6, almost 60 people were killed in clashes when the Islamists tried to march on Cairo's Tahrir Square as the military and its supporters commemorated the 1973 war with Israel.