As the anniversary of Morsis inauguration approached, and the streets buzzed with plans of mass protests, El-Sissi said he met with Morsi again. That meeting, El-Sissi said, came on June 22, about the same time a court found that Brotherhood members had conspired with Hamas, Hezbollah and militants and stormed a prison in final days of 2011 uprising to free 34 Brotherhood leaders, including Morsi. The ruling left Morsis legal standing unclear but could now become the basis for his arrest.
Throughout, Morsi defiantly maintained he was president, endorsed by the presidential election last year in which he won 52 percent of the vote. Morsi repeatedly argued that he was being set up by former remnants of the Mubarak regime and the western world to fail and that he needed more time. He consistently rejected reaching out to the opposition, calling them disparate and fractured and an illegitimate source of power. He, not they, were elected to office.
The safest place in Cairo for members of the Brotherhood seemed to be Rabaa, on the edge of the city, where supporters have been gathered since last Friday. Military tanks and soldiers in bullet-proof vests continued to block the roads leading to the area, but they stayed away from the demonstration, even as they moved in on Brotherhood leaders elsewhere. It was clear that Brotherhood supporters could only dragged from Rabaa at great risk of bloodshed.
Meanwhile, military aircraft flew over the iconic Tahrir Square, where anti-Morsi demonstrators remained. Five planes streamed contrails of red, white and black, designed to resemble the Egyptian flag.
McClatchy special correspondent Amina Ismail contributed to this report.