Thousands are rallying in the northern Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria against the man who served as Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister and who is to face an Islamist candidate in the upcoming presidential runoff.

The protesters say Ahmed Shafiq, who was forced to step down after Mubarak's ouster last year, should not be allowed to run because he was a senior official in the former regime.

Shafiq is headed into the June 16-17 runoff against the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohammed Morsi.

A former air force commander, Shafiq has cast himself as a strongman who will restore law and order. Opponents view him as the military's favorite.

Several hundred protesters also rallied Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the Egyptian uprising.