And there are worries the conflict could explode into violence again as it did on Monday, when the country’s elite Republican Guard opened fire on Morsi partisans, killing more than 50. The situation is volatile, with hundreds of Brotherhood officials, including its supreme leader, Mohammed Badie, under arrest, and the possibility that Morsi, too, will face charges.
With $12 billion in promised aid from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait over the past week, the new government has financial space to muddle through the months ahead without tackling the problems that contributed to Morsi’s undoing.
Morsi supporters have vowed to stay in the streets for months, if necessary, to see him reinstated.
On Friday, the Brotherhood bused in tens of thousands of people from around the country. The show of force may have totaled as many as a million participants, though it was still much smaller than the anti-Morsi outpouring of as many as 14 million that crowded the streets in the days ahead of his ouster.
The goal of the pro-Morsi demonstrators was Rabaa, the Cairo district that has become the gathering place for Brotherhood supporters. But the military blocked the roads leading there, so protesters, most of whom are observing the fast required of Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, had to walk in the heat for at least 30 minutes – without water _ before arriving.
On loudspeakers, near military tanks, some troops played a recital of the Quran in the background in an effort to mollify Morsi’s Islamist supporters.
As sunset approached, when protesters could break their Ramadan fast and eat and drink again, the exhaustion caused by hours of heat and dehydration was evident. Slippers dragged along by shuffling feet became the dominant sound as the crowds sought out the dates, bread, chicken, rice, sandwiches, juice and water whose odors had hovered around them.
“It is not logical to meet the demands of a protest that lasted only two days while we had been here for many days and no one looked at our demands,” said Assma al Samak, 22, one of the protesters.
Ismail is a McClatchy special correspondent. Roy Gutman in Cairo contributed to this report.