Security says to watch Cairo demo from afar

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CAIRO: Security forces will watch a rally planned for Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square from a distance to avoid possible clashes, an official said, as Egypt’s government warned against plots to sow chaos.

“Police and army officers will be stationed in the side streets, but there will not be any security presence on Tahrir Square,” the security official told AFP.

Mass rallies are planned nationwide on Friday, including in Cairo’s Tahrir Square — the epicenter of protests that ousted president Hosni Mubarak — to push for democratic reforms.

The interior ministry, in coordination with the army, has decided not to deploy in the square after a series of violent clashes this week between protesters and security forces, the official said.

Pro-democracy youth groups who called for the protest “will be in charge of security at the entrances to the square,” he said.

On Wednesday, the government urged all those taking part in the demonstration to “maintain the peaceful nature of the protest” warning against “plots aiming to incite chaos in order to tarnish the country’s image.”

Egyptians are expected to take to the street on Friday to express their mounting frustration with the country’s military rulers over the pace of reform.

Activists have repeatedly denounced the handling of legal proceedings against security forces who used deadly violence in the uprising that toppled Mubarak in February, killing 846 civilians.

Among the key demands at Friday’s protests are the end to military trials of civilians, the sacking and trying of police officers accused of killing protesters, and the thorough and transparent trials of former regime officials.


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