CAIRO, Egypt, May 16 – As Egyptian expatriates started to cast their votes in the presidential polls, the largest alliance supporting ousted President Mohamed Morsi has urged them to boycott what they referred to as “the bloody elections.”

The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hailed, invited loyalists of the deposed president, to stage a week of escalating protests under the slogan of “boycott the polls of blood.”

Overseas Egyptians in 124 countries will cast their votes from Thursday to Sunday, while the home elections will be held on May 26 and 27.

More than 53 million Egyptians, out of the country’s 94 million population, are eligible to vote in the first post-Morsi presidential elections. Of some 600,000 eligible Egyptian expatriate voters, a large proportion is expected to cast their ballots in Arab countries, especially those in the Gulf region.

Ex-military chief, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who led Morsi’s removal by the military last July, is expected to make an easy win over his sole leftist rival, Hamdeen Sabahy, in their contest for the country’s top post.

Both candidates have made tough statements against the controversial Brotherhood, currently blacklisted by Egypt’s interim leadership as a “terrorist group.”

Despite the call for boycotting the polls, Egyptian ambassadors around the world said the initial signs showed a high turnout on the first voting day.

In an unprecedented statement last week, the Brotherhood showed willingness to negotiate and clearly stated that Egyptians should vote wisely and freely, reaffirming its commitment to peacefulness and denouncement of violence.

Since Morsi’s ouster, his loyalists have been facing a massive crackdown as anti-government protests are staged nearly on a daily basis.