CAIRO, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The standoff between the sit-in supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and the military-backed interim government continued as Egyptians began to celebrate Eid el-Fitr, an important holiday in the Muslim calendar, on Thursday.
Naglaa Mahmoud, the wife of Morsi, made her first public appearance at Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo's Nasr City, since her husband was deposed by the army on July 3.
She called on Morsi supporters to remain defiant in the face of the government's Wednesday threat to remove protest camps, the two most massive of which were erected in Nasr City and Nahda Square near Cairo University in Giza.
Addressing the huge crowd, the former first lady said her husband is "coming back, God willing."
"We are victorious" and Egypt "is Islamic," she said on a makeshift stage wearing a long veil.
Protesters have erected sandbag-and-brick barricades and armed themselves with sticks to confront the military.
In Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, government supporters hung portraits of army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi from trees and lamp-posts and held pro-army banners. Singers were invited onto a stage in the square to sing anti-Brotherhood rap and nationalist songs.
Although Morsi was democratically elected in June 2012, his rule only lasted for a year before the army toppled him and detained him at a secret location. Nearly 300 people have been killed in violence since Morsi's removal.
Some Western countries have been trying to broker a reconciliation between Egyptian rivals over the last few days.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday voiced their concern about the situation in Egypt.
At the request of President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. John McCain and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham visited Egypt this week, urging the government to release some of the political prisoners if the Muslim Brotherhood pledged to renounce violence.
Egypt's interim president rejected the senators' message as interference in Egypt's internal affairs. A senior Egyptian official confirmed that the government remained upset about the senators' visit and viewed McCain as hardening the stand of the Muslim Brotherhood.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Thursday called on all parties in Egypt to open dialogue, saying France is ready to assist any political process to reduce the conflict in the country.
Thursday was the first day of the four-day holiday of Eid el-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Yet the holiday only gave Egyptians a breath of relief amid waves of bloodshed.