The first senior U.S. official to visit Egypt since the army toppled its elected president meets officials on Monday to urge them to swiftly restore democracy, while thousands of supporters of the ousted Islamist leader take to the streets.
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns arrived in a divided capital where both sides are furious at the United States, the superpower which supports Egypt with $1.5 billion in annual aid, mostly for the army that deposed President Mohamed Mursi.
Crisis in the Arab world's most populous state, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and straddles the strategic Suez Canal, has alarmed allies in the region and the West.
Washington is torn between its professed support for democracy and its clear uneasiness at the rise of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, so far refusing to say whether it views Mursi's removal as a coup, which would require it to halt its aid.
Islamists, who have maintained a vigil demanding Mursi be reinstated, have called a mass protest for Monday, as have Mursi's secularist opponents. Demonstrations in Cairo have been largely peaceful for the past week after at least 92 people were killed in the days after Mursi was toppled.
Two rows of armored personnel carriers were in place near the mosque square in northeast Cairo where Mursi supporters have maintained their vigil. Barbed wire was blocking the street leading from the protest site to the Republican Guard barracks, scene of the worst violence a week ago when uniformed snipers were filmed firing from the rooftops into a crowd.
Read more: Egypt Islamists march as senior U.S. official visits - Yahoo! News