Update: Jama’a al-Islamiya protest draws to close early Friday evening

Early Friday evening, Islamist demonstrators at Cairo University’s Renaissance Square announced the end of today’s protest against violence held by the Jama’a al-Islamiya and its Construction and Development Party. Throughout the day, members of Jama’a al-Islamiya and other Islamist forces chanted in support of President Mohamed Morsy and Islam.

In the late afternoon, the Ultras Nahdawy donned Black Bloc attire. The back of their shirts were emblazoned with the flag of the Muslim Brotherhood and the words, “Ultras Nahdawy.” They chanted slogans praising Morsy, played drums and tambourines and held photos of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna.

Freedom and Justice Party leader Mohamed al-Beltagy, who was present at the demonstrations, said, "President Mohamed Morsy cannot be changed except through the ballot boxes that brought him into power. The Parliament will also only come through the ballot box, which is the real proof of the popular will.”

He stressed the need for unity in order to rebuild the country after the revolution.

"The process of construction will not be through violence and force, [tactics] which some use in an attempt to stage a coup against the legitimate president who came through free [elections]," Beltagy added.

Essam Sultan, vice president of the Wasat Party, said during Friday’s the protest, "People in the street have started to understand and reject the policies of the National Salvation Front.”

Sultan vowed to defend Morsy as the nation’s legitimate president.

"I came today to show support for Jama’a al-Islamiya's protest, and to reject the policy of violence the National Salvation Front is following,” Sultan told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Islamists would defend state institutions against all sabotage, he added.

Numbers of demonstrators at Renaissance Square had soared into the thousands by early Friday afternoon, reported state-run news agency MENA.

MENA reported that Jama’a al-Islamiya bussed in supporters from several governments, including Sohag, Minya and Assiut. 

The mass “All Against Violence” demonstration also included members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi Front.

Friday morning, protesters hung up dozens of banners that read, "Trying the killers of revolutionaries is a revolutionary demand," "No to the Nasserist Party’s visit to Syria to support the killer Bashar" and "No to black masks," referring to the Black Bloc protesters who have been appearing in demonstrations since 25 January, clothed entirely in black.

Dozens formed groups to direct traffic.

Present in the crowd were supporters of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, known as the blind sheikh. They held banners that read, "Sons of the Jama’a al-Islamiya are waiting for the promise to be met by the return of the captive sheikh."

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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