Morsi Supporters, Opponents Hold Mass Counter-rallies

Iran calls Mohammed Morsi's ouster by Egyptian military 'improper', prods his supporters to sustain efforts on his behalf.

Opponents and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Sunday held huge rallies in several parts of the country amid fears about new violence between the two sides.

Thousands of Morsi supporters gathered at sites in eastern and southern Cairo, demanding the reinstatement of former Islamist president who was ousted by the army after massive street protests against his rule earlier in the week.

Islamists gathered outside the headquarters of the elite Republican Guard in eastern Cairo, where they believe Morsi is being kept in the army's custody.

Waving Morsi's portraits and the Egyptian flag, they chanted slogans against the engineer of Morsi's toppling, Defence Minister Abdel-Fatah.

Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi is a member, have vowed open-ended street protests until he is restored to power, calling his removal a "coup against legitimacy."

Several anti-Morsi marches Sunday converged on Tahrir Square in central Cairo, renewing support for Morsi's overthrow.

"The people have already toppled the regime," chanted the demonstrators.

"The Egyptian army is ours, but Morsi is not," they added, as army helicopters flew overhead.

Hundreds of anti-Morsi demonstrators gathered outside the presidential palace in the eastern Cairo quarter of Heliopolis, renewing backing for his toppling.

While falling short of using the term coup, Iran's foreign ministry on Sunday voiced disapproval of the toppling of Egypt's former president by the military, calling the move "improper" in its first official reaction to last week's events.

Official news agency IRNA quoted ministry spokesman Abbas Araghchi as also saying that supporters of Mohammed Morsi should not give up in their efforts to reinstate him.