SAN JOSE -- About three dozen Egyptian-Americans demonstrated Sunday in San Jose against the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, with many of them expressing more outrage against the powerful army than solidarity with the deposed leader.
"This is not a pro-Morsi rally," Mohamed Mostafa said as he held a large Egyptian flag at a busy intersection near the city's popular Santana Row shopping center. "This is an anti-coup rally."
Mostafa, a 42-year-old electrical engineer from Santa Clara, said he actually voted against Morsi but felt compelled to protest against the military's ousting the elected president as a blow to the country's nascent democratic movement.
"I thought President Bush was bad," he shouted above the noise passing traffic and honking car horns, "but I didn't do a coup against him!"
Egypt's military has found itself on the defensive after soldiers shot and killed scores of pro-Morsi supporters since deposing him July 3 after one year in office. The killings have turned public squares in Egyptian cities into political tinderboxes, with battle lines drawn between Morsi supporters and opponents.
Morsi is a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group has called for an uprising, accusing troops of gunning down protesters, while the military blamed armed Islamists for provoking its forces.
Many of the protesters at the San Jose rally said they voted for or supported Morsi as the most capable candidate, and not because they wish to turn their home country into a religious theocracy, as many fear is the Brotherhood's main goal.
"It's a bunch of nonsense," said Tarek Mourad, 56, of Santa Clara. "The military is serving its own interests outside of military affairs and this was a power grab."
Ahmed Regab, a 30-year-old design engineer from Santa Clara, helped organize the rally for a new national network calling itself Egyptians Against Coup. Holding dual American and Egyptian citizenship, Regab said he voted in every major Egyptian election since the Arab Spring movement succeeded in deposing former dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
"I find all this is thrown down in the garbage," Regab said. "It's not right."
At least one protester was a Morsi man from the beginning.
"He was the only candidate with an education and political experience," said Ahmad Rushdi, a 32-year-old technology engineer, also from Santa Clara. He said he voted in five national elections, "all thrown in the trash now."
Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767. Follow him at Twitter.com/joerodmercury.