Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi arrived at a Cairo courtroom on Monday to go on trial for inciting killings, four months after he was ousted in a coup.
Hundreds of riot police and armored vehicles were stationed around the Police Academy in Cairo, where the proceedings will take place, after authorities switched the trial venue at the last minute to deter protesters, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
While there were no reports of violence late Monday morning, demonstrators on both sides of the political spectrum vowed to take to the streets as the trial began.
Morsi and 14 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders face charges of inciting murder and violence in riots outside the Presidential Palace that left 10 people dead in December. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison or even face execution.
A lawyer for the ousted leader told CNN that he was optimistic that Morsi would be acquitted. His main worry was whether the Muslim-Brotherhood-backed leader would be given a fair trial — a concern echoed by rights group Amnesty International who have said that the trial would be a test for the Egyptian authorities.
In the December riots, Morsi supporters clashed with peaceful protesters camped outside the Presidential Palace, according to AP. Videos posted on social media appear to show Morsi supporters detaining and torturing members of opposition groups.