Cairo: Supporters and opponents of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi on Saturday called for rival demonstrations on the 1973 Arab-Israeli war anniversary after the deadliest violence in weeks.
The Anti-Coup Alliance of Islamist groups called on its supporters to try to reach Cairo`s Tahrir Square, blocked off by the army, to mark Sunday`s 40th anniversary of the war.
The conflict, known as the October war in the Arab world and the Yom Kippur war in Israel, is remembered proudly by the Egyptian army as it caught Israel`s defences unawares and led ultimately to Egypt`s recovery of the Sinai Peninsula in the 1979 peace treaty.
"The Egypt Anti-Coup Alliance repeats its call to all Egyptians to continue their protests in every part of Egypt, and to gather in Tahrir Square on Sunday, October 6, to celebrate the army of that victory and its leaders," the bloc said.
Attempts on yesterday by Islamist protesters against the army`s July 3 overthrow of Morsi to reach Tahrir Square sparked clashes with security forces who responded with tear gas and warning shots.
Four people were killed in Cairo`s deadliest protest violence in more than a month as demonstrators clashed with coup supporters as well as security forces.
It was unclear whether the dead were Islamists or their opponents. A senior medical official said only that none of them were security personnel.
Clashes were also reported yesterday in Alexandria and the Upper Egypt province of Assiut.
Calls for demonstrations on Sunday were also made by Tamarod, the movement which led nationwide protests against Morsi that finally led to his ouster by the army.
"We call all Egyptians to come out tomorrow across all squares in the country to assert that this nation will not allow its revolution to be stolen," prominent Tamarod leader Mahmoud Badr told reporters.
Analysts said the Islamists` call for protests tomorrow marked a high-risk attempt to strip the current high command of the Arab-Israeli conflict`s legacy of patriotic pride in the army.
"They will try to show that the present army is not the army of all Egyptians, but only of those who backed the coup," said Hassan Nafaa, professor of political science at Cairo University.
"But this message will not go down well," he said.
Nafaa said the Islamists mistakenly believed they could repeat the 2011 protests that swept away veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak and his despised police.
"The Muslim Brotherhood fails to realise that there can`t be another revolution," he said.
"Egyptian people are not against the army as they were against the police in January 2011. If there is violence tomorrow, the Muslim Brotherhood will be the loser".