T-shirts on display at Tahrir Sqaure, Cairo
Muslim Brotherhood supporters flocked to Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to hear Mohamed Mursi speak on the eve of his inauguration as Egypt's first Islamist, civilian president, reports Reuters.
The rally's slogan, "Powers of the president", heralds what may prove a prolonged struggle between the Islamists and army generals who have imposed stark curbs on presidential powers before they formally hand over executive authority.
Crowds in Tahrir, the hub of last year's revolt against ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, chanted "Mursi is president of the republic" and waved Egyptian flags with his picture inset.
"A full revolution or nothing. Down, down with military rule!" they shouted. "We, the people, are the red line!"
The military council that pushed Mubarak aside on February 11, 2011 has supervised a chaotic stop-go transition since then, holding parliamentary and presidential elections, but then effectively negating their outcome to preserve its own power.
Mursi, who attended weekly Muslim prayers at the al-Azhar mosque, was expected to address the nation from Tahrir at about 6 p.m. (1600 GMT). He will swear his oath of office at 11 a.m. on Saturday before the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo.
The usual venue is parliament, but the same court dissolved the Islamist-led lower house this month in a ruling backed, if not orchestrated, by the army, apparently unwilling to let Islamists control the legislature as well as the presidency.
"Do we accept that parliament is dissolved?" cheerleaders from the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party asked the throng in Tahrir. "No!" the party faithful thundered back.
Mursi was declared president last Sunday, a nerve-racking week after a run-off vote in which he narrowly beat ex-air force chief Ahmed Shafik, who was Mubarak's last prime minister.
After being sworn in as the first freely elected civilian president of the most populous Arab state, Mursi will give a speech at Cairo University, a presidency statement said.
Hundreds of protesters have been camped out in Tahrir for weeks to press the army to transfer power to civilians. The military council has long promised to hand over power to the next president by July 1, but army sources said the ceremony had been postponed, without giving a reason or a new date.
The generals have seized new powers this month, giving themselves veto rights over the drafting of a new constitution, naming a National Defence Council to run defence and foreign policies and decreeing their control of all military affairs.
They may have won the skirmish over the venue for Mursi's oath-taking, but the Brotherhood is likely to wage a protracted campaign to roll back military control over the new Egypt.
Scenes at the presidential palace occupied by Mubarak for three decades encapsulated the rise of an 84-year-old Islamist movement he had banned, constrained and often persecuted.
Bearded men, some in white robes, others in suits, milled around the palace while Mursi held talks on Thursday with the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohamed Badie and consulted clerics from the al-Azhar seat of Islamic learning, hardline Salafis and independent evangelical Muslim preachers.