Army deploys nationwide amid protest calls

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CAIRO: Egypt’s army on Wednesday said it will deploy troops across the country after activists called for "civil disobedience" to mark the anniversary of strongman Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, state media reported.

"The Armed Forces decided to deploy their troops in the various Egyptian governorates to protect private and public property, secure main roads and nab outlaws and thugs," the official news agency MENA said.

"The decision came as part of the Armed Forces’ efforts to restore the state’s prestige and help the police in preserving security and restoring stability to the Egyptian street," it said quoting an army statement.

Students from several universities and pro-democracy activists have called in a statement posted on the internet for "a general strike and civil disobedience" on Feb. 11, the anniversary of Mubarak’s ouster.

The former president was forced to step down last year after 18 days of massive street protests against his three-decade autocratic rule.

Since he quit the country has been ruled by the powerful Supreme Council of the Armed forces led by Mubarak’s veteran defense minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.

But the pro-democracy protesters who forced Mubarak to quit have been accusing the military rulers of mismanaging the transition and failure to hand over the reins of power quickly to civilian rule.

They also accuse the army of human rights violations and of wanting to stay in power.

Tension has been high in Egypt following last week’s deadly football violence that saw 71 people die in the northern city of Port Said.

Since then 15 people have been killed in clashes between protesters and police.

Activists and MPs blame the interior ministry and the ruling military council for failing to prevent the football violence.



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