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Election Delays Fuel Growing Anger In Cairo
Egypt's military rulers have said they will "deal firmly" with any attempt to harm the public interest, as tension rises over the delayed presidential election result.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) also criticised both candidates for fuelling political division with premature declarations of victory.
The statement was broadcast on Egyptian state television as thousands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood joined a mass protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Over the loudspeakers, members of the Islamist movement led chants calling for the end of military rule.
The Muslim Brotherhood claims its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, won a clear victory in last weekend's election and supporters have accused the military of trying to change the result.
The delay over the official announcement of the result - scheduled for Thursday but now due on Sunday - has added to the climate of anger and mistrust.
Mr Morsi's rival in the contest, Ahmed Shafiq, has also claimed victory.
The 70-year-old, who was the last prime minister to serve under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, is derided by critics as a "remnant" of the old regime.
The turmoil over the election has been building since the polls closed on Sunday night.
At the same time, the Scaf issued a constitutional declaration granting itself the legislative powers of the Islamist-dominated parliament, which has been dissolved on the orders of a court.
The move has prompted accusations of a military coup in the country. But in their statement the military rulers said they stand by the decree, which will effectively limit the new president's powers.
The Scaf said Egyptians were "free" to protest, but warned against attempts to ignite division.
The presidential election has highlighted the level of polarisation in the nation of 80 million people.
The Muslim Brotherhood - long Mr Mubarak's main opponents - won support from its loyalists and some revolutionary activists.
Mr Shafiq secured the backing of secular, middle class Egyptians who long for a return to stability and are alarmed by the prospect of Islamist rule.
But many Egyptians favoured neither candidate, dismayed at the stark choice between a religious state and a member of the old regime.