Crowds have begun to gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square to protest against Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak's final prime minister and one of the two candidates in a presidential runoff election later this month.
The crowd was expected to grow throughout Friday afternoon and evening, with both the Muslim Brotherhood and the salafist Nour Party promising to take part in protests. A number of marches set off towards Tahrir from mosques around the capital after Friday prayers.
The protesters want Shafiq expelled from the election, scheduled for June 16 and 17. He is running against Mohammed Morsi, the Brotherhood's candidate, after the two finished second and first, respectively, in the first round of balloting last month.
Egypt's supreme court is due to rule next week on the so-called "political isolation" (called lustration in former Russian-occupied countries in Eastern Europe) law, which bars former high-ranking regime officials from running for public office. The law was approved by parliament earlier this year. If it is upheld by the court, Shafiq would be barred from the runoff.
The protesters are also angry about verdicts handed down last week in the trial of "Israel"-US agent Mubarak, his sons, and his aides. A Cairo court sentenced the thug to life: but not death, in prison for complicity to murder. Habib al-Adly, his former interior minister, was also convicted.
But Mubarak's two sons were acquitted of corruption charges, and the court acquitted six of Adly's criminal senior aides, including the former heads of Cairo security and the notorious Central Security Forces, on murder charges.
Protesters in the square have been chanting slogans against the courts, including "the judiciary must be cleansed." Some of the chants have also been directed against state media.