Pro-Morsi protesters defiant as army blocks their path

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Defiant Mohamed Morsi supporters chanted "Down with the coup!" and "Egypt Islamic!" in Cairo on Friday more than two weeks after the army toppled the country's first freely elected president.

Soldiers blocked one procession of around 10,000 protesters who waved flags, carried pictures of the deposed Islamist leader and vowed to press a protest campaign until he is reinstated.

"We will continue to besiege all strategic places... We will stop life until we have restored our rights," said Khairy Mussa, a teacher of English.

Fighter jets and military helicopters flew low over the capital a day after the military warned that it would decisively confront any protesters who turned violent.

Members of the crowd formed a human chain to separate the Islamists from the long line of soldiers across the road.

Supporters of Morsi, who has been held in custody since his ouster on July 3, view the army's decision to overthrow the man they voted into power last year as an affront to democracy.

Demonstrators angrily denounced Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief behind the coup.

"We had (five) elections from March 19 (2011) until now, and the army has cancelled them," said a man who gave his name as Mohammed, a veterinary surgeon in his 40s.

Men, women and children carried placards reading "Leave, Sisi, Morsi is the president," with some chanting "Sisi traitor!" and branding the general a "killer".

The Islamists have failed to muster the vast numbers of people who rallied in the days preceding Morsi's overthrow calling for him to go.

But tens of thousands did march on Friday, with some of the numerous processions in Cairo heading towards military institutions, despite the heavy deployment of troops around them.

"We are protesting at the places where the army can hear our voice," said Osama Okasha, 54, at one rally near the ministry of defence.

"We want them to hear the Egyptian people's voice," he added.

Another large crowd made its way to the Republican Guard headquarters before being blocked by soldiers and armoured vehicles.

In what has become a defining moment in the latest political turmoil to rock the country, at least 53 people were killed, most of them Morsi supporters, outside the elite army barracks early on July 8.

The Brotherhood accuses the army of committing a "massacre" at the site, while the military says it was responding to a "terrorist" attack.

Since then, interim president Adly Mansour has issued a charter outlining the timetable for constitutional reforms and fresh elections, and a new caretaker cabinet was sworn in earlier this week.

For some in Egypt, the refusal of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood to negotiate with the interim authorities is leaving them increasingly marginalised.

But there was a strong sense of confidence among Friday's protesters.

"I believe Morsi will return as president, God willing. The people will win in the end," said one.