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Tamarod Claims 22 Million Signatures

June 29 was a day spent preparing for the long-planned June 30 protests. The Tamarod movement announced their claim that the final tally of signatures in support of recalling President Morsi and holding early presidential elections reached 22 million, exceeding the goal of 15 million signatures (and far exceeding the approximately 13 million votes cast in favor of Morsi in the June 2012 election). No independent verification of this number could be made, however.

Tents were erected outside the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Heliopolis, a district of Cairo, and the Egyptian police publically posted a video suggesting their intention not to protect Muslim Brotherhood buildings. Meanwhile, supporters of Morsi continued their rally at the Raba’a al-Adaweya Mosque, and videos surfaced of them engaging in militaristically-styled physical exercise, some with crude weapons and armor in hand. Activists on both sides expressed doubt that the coming protests would be peaceful.

In Port Said, there was violence overnight from Friday into Saturday. Late on Friday, June 28, an explosion amid a crowd of protesters killed a journalist; preliminary analysis indicated that it was a homemade explosive device. The blast wounded fifteen others. Protesters reacted by attacking an Islamist party office. Further to the east, militants in the Sinai Peninsula killed a police general.

In response to the growing unrest, the United States issued a travel warning for its citizens and cut back on embassy personnel in Egypt.