Egypt prepares for massive protests on anniversary of Jan. 25 revolution
Thousands are expected to flood Egypt's streets on Saturday, in what may turn into a day of bloodshed and violence in the politically-torn country. (AFP/File)
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Egypt’s Interior Ministry unveiled on Wednesday a plan to tighten security around police stations and government buildings nationwide ahead of planned protests on Jan. 25 Revolution’s third anniversary.
The ministry said in a statement that central security forces will be deployed to guard in the interior ministry building, police posts, prisons and the surroundings of Tahrir Square.
Both Islamist supporters of ousted President Mohammad Morsi and Liberal activist groups have announced plans to demonstrate nationwide against the military-backed government.
The groups, once united against Hosni Mubarak, have been largely at odds with each other since Morsi took power in June 2012. The liberal groups backed the military ouster of Morsi on July 3, 2013, but many of them were later dismayed by the brutality of the new regime.
Some of them, including political activist and coordinator of the April 6 Movement, Ahmed Maher and activist Ahmed Doma, have been jailed for various charges, including illegal demonstration.
On Wednesday six members of April 6 Movement were arrested for distributing flyers calling for protests on the revolution’s anniversary.
They were arrested at Cairo’s Shohada Metro station and detained for nine hours before being released without charge, Ahram Online reported.
“If your message is that the revolution happened so only [Mubarak] regime figures and pro-military people have their freedom, then a third revolution is on its way because of your actions. Your oppression of the youth for merely distributing flyers is a clear invitation to rebel against your injustices,” the April 6 Youth Movement (Democratic Front) said in statement read.
“If calling for a gathering on the anniversary of the revolution is considered a crime then why aren’t media people and politicians who do the same being punished as well?,” the statement added.
A tense day
Saturday, the third anniversary of the 2011 revolt, promises to be a tense day.
Interim interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim has also called for demonstrations on that day to counter what he said was an Islamist “plot to spark chaos,” an unusual appeal from the top police official tasked with enforcing a law that restricts protests.
Morsi supporters have staged regular protests demanding his reinstatement despite a brutal government crackdown that has left more than 1,000 people killed since his ouster in July.
The alliance said the objective of its protests was to “end the military rule which has committed most if not all the awful and shameful crimes since January 25 2011 which peaked during the military coup” that ousted Morsi.
Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, was removed by the army on July 3 after mass protests against his year-long rule.
The alliance said its protests will be “non-violent... and peaceful”, but their rallies have often turned into street clashes with Morsi opponents and security forces.
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