Tension rises ahead of Egypt protest

CAIRO (AP) — Organizers of a mass protest against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi are claiming that more than 22 million people have signed their petition demanding the Islamist leader step down.

They say the tally is a reflection of how much the public has turned against his rule.

The announcement adds to a sense of foreboding on the eve of opposition-led mass demonstrations that many are afraid could turn deadly and quickly spin out of control, dragging the country into a dangerous round of political violence.

The demonstrations planned for Sunday reflect the growing polarization of the nation since Morsi took power, with the president and his Islamist allies in one camp and seculars, liberals, moderate Muslims and Christians on the other.

There’s a sense among opponents and supporters of Morsi that Sunday’s rally is a make or break day.

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083-a-10-(Khalad Dawood, spokesman, National Salvation Front, in AP interview)-”early presidential elections”-Opposition spokesman Khalad Dawood says Egyptians are rallying to press for a national vote as soon as possible. (29 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *083 (06/29/13)££ 00:10 “early presidential elections”

084-a-12-(Khalad Dawood, spokesman, National Salvation Front, in AP interview)-”the Muslim Brotherhood”-Opposition spokesman Khalad Dawood says the Muslim Brotherhood has failed to run Egypt adequately and urges the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi. (29 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *084 (06/29/13)££ 00:12 “the Muslim Brotherhood”

APPHOTO AMR101: Supporters of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi wave his posters and national flags as they fill a public square outside of the Rabia el-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo, not far from the presidential palace, during a rally in Cairo, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Thousands of supporters and opponents of Egypt’s embattled Islamist president are holding rival sit-ins on the eve of what are expected to be massive opposition-led protests aimed at forcing Mohammed Morsi’s ouster. The demonstrations early Saturday follow days of deadly clashes in a string of cities across the country that left at least seven people dead, including an American, and hundreds injured. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil) (29 Jun 2013)

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APPHOTO KH107: Egyptian governmental workers check street lamps outside the presidential palace in Cairo, Saturday, June 29, 2013. As the streets once again fill with protesters eager to oust the president and Islamists determined to keep him in power, Egyptians are preparing for the worst: days or weeks of urban chaos that could turn a loved one into a victim. Households already beset by power cuts, fuel shortages and rising prices are stocking up on goods in case the demonstrations drag on. Businesses near protest sites are closing until crowds subside. Fences, barricades and walls are going up near homes and key buildings. And local communities are organizing citizen patrols in case security breaks down. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) (29 Jun 2013)

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APPHOTO KH104: An opponent of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi sleeps in a tent as he and others camp outside the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of Morsi rallied Friday in Cairo, and both sides fought each other in the second-largest city of Alexandria, where a few people were killed — including an American — and tens were injured while at least five offices of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood were torched, officials said. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) (29 Jun 2013)

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