(MSNBC) Thousands of flag-waving protesters filled Cairo’s Tahrir Square for Friday prayers as Egypt’s presidential candidates, an Islamist and former general, accused each other of trying to steal an election whose result is still not known five days on.
The Muslim Brotherhood, whose candidate Mohammed Morsi says he has already won, called on supporters to gather at the birthplace of last year’s Arab Spring revolt until the ruling military council rescinds orders that curb the new president’s powers and dissolved the new, Islamist-led parliament.
The delay in announcing the results of two days of voting which ended on Sunday also raised fears that the army may try to swing the election to Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force commander whom Mubarak made prime minister just before his fall.
A result is not expected until Saturday or Sunday, giving the country a tense weekend, although the vast majority, many not greatly enamored of either candidate in the run-off, were staying at home and passing Friday’s Muslim weekend as normal.
‘Classic counter revolution’
For many — both in the organized mass Islamist movements and in the more fragmented secular, liberal opposition — a Shafiq victory, coupled with the military council taking powers over legislation and drafting a constitution, would mean that the six decades of army rule they thought were over, will in fact go on.
“This is a classic counter revolution that will only be countered by the might of protesters,” said Safwat Ismail, 43, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who came from the Nile Delta. “I am staying in the square until the military steps down.”