Egypt is holding its breath for mass demonstrations to mark the first anniversary of President Mohamed Morsi's election on Sunday, amid speculation the army might intervene in the event of large-scale civil unrest.
Opposition activists claim an unverifiable 15 million Egyptians have signed a petition demanding Morsi's removal, and expect a significant proportion of that number to take to the streets on 30 June. There have already been outbreaks of fighting in two cities, where Morsi's still-sizeable support base has launched counter-protests. As a result, many opposition actors hope the army, who deployed armoured vehicles on Cairo's streets on Wednesday, will be forced to intervene and facilitate a transition of power.
A senior military source told the Guardian on Thursday that the army did not want to intervene. But they stated that if Sunday's protests were as widespread and prolonged as those that drove Egypt's 2011 uprising, and if serious fighting broke out between Morsi's supporters and his opponents, then the army may regard the protests as a more legitimate representation of the people's will than the elections that brought Morsi to office a year ago – and would step in to facilitate a transition of power to a technocratic caretaker government.