CAIRO, Egypt — It was an unprecedented move.
Egypt's defense minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, using Egypt's notorious street politics to boost his credentials, called on Egyptians to rally en masse in a show of support for what he said would be a new fight against "terrorism" in the country.
Critics said the call is aimed at providing popular cover for a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, whose supporters have been demonstrating for weeks to have their leader and former President Mohamed Morsi reinstated following a military coup on July 3. The army, ostensibly responding to the millions that took to the streets June 30 to protest Morsi's rule, deposed the Islamist leader in a dramatic coup d'etat.
Since then, the nation has been starkly divided between those who support the military and those who believe democratic rule has been thwarted.
On Friday, Egyptians on both sides rallied in Cairo to voice their concerns. GlobalPost spoke with Egyptians on both sides of this ongoing story.
Here are their thoughts about what's happening right now:
Pro-military in Tahrir Square
Ahmad Faried, retired non-commissioned officer
"Hosni Mubarak was elected with the ballet box; this is not the first election in Egypt," he said, referring to the president ousted by the 2011 uprising. "The ballot box, does not give the right to the president to step on the poor, to control their means of life...What brought me today, is support for the army, and Sisi himself. Sisi is a son of the armed forces, and so am I. The armed forces are the most important part of this country."
Shenouda Hanna, Pharmacist
"Morsi only cared about his party the Muslim Brotherhood, not about Egypt. He was only looking for the benefit of his group. Egypt needs a leader that works for the benefit of all Egyptians."
Pro-Morsi march in Cairo
Muhammad Sayed Saleh, laborer
"I came to support Sharia law and legitimacy — to support democracy. We want Egypt to be democratic like other countries. We want a free democracy. We want to vote freely. We don’t want the army to rule us for 60 years...We want the return of the president. We will not go home till he’s back in office...Why is it when democracy comes with Islamists, they cancel it?"
Hanaa Ghonem, veterinarian
"I am not with the Muslim Brotherhood...I am here to support legitimacy, to support Morsi because we elected him. It’s his right to stay for four years."