CAIRO — In a Thursday statement, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood sharply criticized the military for ousting the country’s Islamist president, comparing the army’s rule to that of Adolf Hitler and Roman emperor Nero.

Thursday’s criticism appears designed to whip up support for the Brotherhood and its planned rally on Sunday against the military and its popularly-backed July 3 coup that ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, a longtime leader of the group.

The military’s supporters are planning a rival rally on Sunday in central Cairo to mark the start of Egypt’s war against Israel in 1973, raising the prospect of violent clashes between the two sides.

The Brotherhood statement came as EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, is visiting Cairo in an effort to defuse Egypt’s political crisis. She met military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Thursday.

Two weeks ago, an Egyptian court banned the Muslim Brotherhood and ordered its assets confiscated in a dramatic escalation of a crackdown by the military-backed government against supporters of Morsi.

The Brotherhood was outlawed for most of its 85 years of existence. But after the 2011 ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, it was allowed to work openly and formed a political party, which rose to power in elections.