Egyptian police were out in big numbers on Monday to deal with a nationwide protest called by pro-democracy groups, arresting Islamists and containing small demonstrations in the capital, Cairo. According to AFP, some 100 opposition MPs, mainly from the banned Muslim Brotherhood, walked out of parliament to mark the "day of anger" when Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif began to speak, although there were no reports of mass protests.
"Police have been given the order to arrest anyone taking part in demonstrations. Extra security forces are deployed around sensitive sites in Cairo and around the country," a security official told AFP. During a protest in Cairo's Ain Shams University, eight people were injured during clashes between opposition students and pro-government students. Police arrested 15 students, a security official said.
Another security source said that 12 members of the Brotherhood were arrested at different locations around the country as they were preparing protest signs.
Some 300 opposition activists gathered outside the journalists' syndicate in downtown Cairo, shouting "Down, down (President Hosni) Mubarak" while penned in by dozens of police, AFP reported. Protest organisers blamed the low turnout on police threats. "There was a problem with the police warning citizens not to join the demonstrations," said Abdel Halim Qandil, coordinator of the Kifaya opposition group.