The crowd denounced the liberal opposition and its leaders, calling them undemocratic and accusing them of being Mubarak loyalists.
‘‘Those protesting at the presidential palace are feloul (remnants of the Mubarak regime) and counter-revolutionaries,’’ said Mohammed Abdel-Aziz, a young Islamist protester. ‘‘They don’t want Islam.’’
Another pro-Morsi protester, school teacher Mohammed el-Hamoul, said Islamists ‘‘accepted democracy so we could reach power.’’
‘‘Now those who claim to be democracy advocates lost faith in democracy when the Islamists rose to power,’’ he said.
Several hundred Islamists also have set up camp outside a media complex that is home to several independent TV networks critical of Morsi and the Brotherhood. The Islamists have threatened to storm the facility.
The opposition, meanwhile, staged its rally in the nearby Heliopolis neighborhood, where tens of thousands of protesters gathered outside the presidential palace, pushing their demands that Morsi scrap the referendum.
‘‘The people want the downfall of Brotherhood rule!’’ the protesters chanted, alluding to the widespread notion that Mohammed Badie, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, is the country’s actual ruler.
Troops belonging to the elite Republican Guards deployed outside the palace did not intervene, with some posing for the protesters’ cameras.
With four days to go before the referendum, the opposition has yet to decide whether to campaign for a ‘‘no’’ vote or call for a boycott — something many see as a reflection of the divisions in the anti-Morsi camp. The disparate opposition groups are led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt’s former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa and leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi.
Cracks in the opposition’s unity first appeared last weekend when one of its leading figures, veteran opposition politician Ayman Nour, accepted an invitation by Morsi to attend a ‘‘national dialogue’’ meeting. On Monday, another key opposition figure, El-Sayed Badawi of the Wafd party, met Morsi at the presidential palace.
Badawi later issued a statement saying he remained loyal to the opposition’s goals of scrapping the draft charter and postponing the vote.
The opposition has also demanded that Morsi rescind decrees giving him near- absolute powers. He withdrew those powers on Saturday, but insisted that the referendum would go ahead as scheduled.
Anticipating unrest on the days the referendum is held, Morsi has ordered the military to join the police in maintaining security and protecting state institutions until after the results of the vote are announced. The decree went into effect on Monday.
Associated Press writer Sarah El Deeb contributed to this report.