Liberal leaders are banking on millions fed up with the economy to help push Mursi out. They have been angered by the U.S. ambassador, who said protests were bad for an economy crippled by unrest that has scared off tourists and investors.

Vegetable vendor Zeeka, who gave only his nickname, said he too feared more violence: more trouble means less work for a man who reckons that since the revolution his daily income has more than halved, to $6. His monthly rent had nearly doubled, to $70.

"What is happening now in Egypt is shameful. Prices are on the rise. There is no work. Thugs are everywhere," he said, showing a scar on his arm from a recent beating.

Political feuding was just not helping: "We are with neither one nor the other," said Zeeka. "We are the vegetable people."

Read More