CAIRO -- Secular and liberal factions in Egypt's new leadership worked yesterday to reach a compromise with ultraconservative Islamists on a new prime minister, with a liberal economist emerging as a leading candidate for the post to run the country after the military's ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.
As the negotiations continued over the post, the shows of strength over the removal of Egypt's first freely elected president were far from ending, with hundreds of thousands from each side in the streets yesterday. The military deployed troops at key locations in Cairo and other cities amid fears of renewed violence.
The Muslim Brotherhood pushed ahead with its campaign of protests aimed at forcing Morsi's reinstatement, bringing out large crowds in new rallies. Its officials vowed the group would not be "terrorized" by arrests of their leaders and the shutdown of their media outlets.
The Brotherhood's opponents, in turn, called out large rallies in Tahrir Square and other squares in Cairo and several cities to defend against the Islamist counter-push. The rallies took on a sharply nationalist tone, with effusive praise for the military and strong anti-American sentiment over perceived U.S. support for Morsi and his Brotherhood.
Military jets swooped over the crowd filling Tahrir, drawing a heart shape and an Egyptian flag in the sky with colored smoke.
In the square, large banners with a picture of Obama with an Islamist beard read, "Obama, hands off, a message to the USA. Obama supports the terrorists of 911."
The tone appeared aimed at drowning out cries from the Brotherhood and its Islamist allies that the army's toppling of Morsi was a coup against democracy. The anti-American slogans had a double-edged message: painting the Brotherhood as a tool of Washington and pushing back against U.S. concerns over the military's moves here.
Throughout Morsi's year in office, many of his opponents accused the United States of backing his administration. Washington often underlined that it was dealing with Morsi as the country's elected leader.
Before the wave of anti-Morsi protests began on June 30, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson said in a speech that she was "deeply skeptical" protests would be fruitful. She defended U.S. relations with Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood as necessary because the group is part of the democratically elected Egyptian government.
Since Morsi's removal Wednesday, the U.S. has tread carefully, expressing concern without outright calling the army's move a coup or denouncing Morsi's ouster. On Saturday, a White House statement said it rejects "false claims propagated by some in Egypt that we are working with specific political parties or movements."