CAIRO — Egypt’s government has ordered police to block access to protest camps set up by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, state TV reports.
Thousands have been defying warnings from the authorities to abandon the sit-ins in Cairo outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque and at Nahda Square.
On Friday evening they expanded their protest to a third sit-in site.
More than 100 Morsi supporters have been killed in clashes since he was overthrown by the military on July 3.
The demonstrations are taking place a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry said the generals were in effect restoring democracy when they removed the president.
On Friday, activists said more than 30 protest marches left mosques in Cairo after Friday prayers and made their way to swell the numbers at the sit-in near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, in the east of the capital.
Thousands of Morsi supporters and their families have been camping there for weeks, demanding his reinstatement.
On Wednesday, the government warned protesters to abandon the sit-in, as well the one at Nahda Square near Cairo University in Giza, saying they represented threats to national security.
The BBC’s Jim Muir says there is a defiant mood in the camp — with protesters willing to die for President Morsi
The Anti-Coup Alliance, a grouping of Morsi supporters led by the Muslim Brotherhood, vowed that the protests would continue.
“All revolutionary groups, including the alliance, also announce that they do not recognise the coup government or its decisions or negotiations,” a statement said, adding that it placed “full responsibility on the coup leaders for any acts of violence or killings”.
Human Rights Watch also warned the authorities not to clear the sit-ins.
“To avoid another bloodbath, Egypt’s civilian rulers need to ensure the ongoing right of protesters to assemble peacefully, and seek alternatives to a forcible dispersal of the crowds,” it said.
On Friday afternoon, state TV reported that within the next 48 hours security forces would impose a blockade on the two protest camps, allowing people to leave but not to go in.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Ahrar 25 TV meanwhile said two new sit-ins had begun — one outside the Mustafa Mahmoud mosque in the southern Mohandessin district, and another in Alf Maskan in the east, near the capital’s international airport.