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Low turnout in pro-army Friday marches near Tahrir - Daily News Egypt

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Low turnout in pro-army Friday marches near Tahrir

Anti-government demos dispersed in Matariya

An Egyptian woman holds a portrait of ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as she celebrates in Cairo's Tahrir Square on June 3, 2014 after Sisi won 96.9 percent of votes in the country's presidential election. Sisi urged his countrymen to work to restore stability and achieve "freedom" and "social justice", in a speech after he was declared winner of last week's election.  (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED)
An Egyptian woman holds a portrait of ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as she celebrates in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on June 3, 2014 after Sisi won in the country’s presidential election.

Pro-army and police demonstrations on Friday witnessed low turnout near Tahrir Square, according to state media.

In other cities, hundreds  gathered in public squares, chanting for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and against the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, state media also reported.

Meanwhile, anti-government protests took place in the Matariya area of Cairo on Friday, where protesters clashed with police forces. The Interior Ministry spokesperson said Friday that 12 were arrested in the area of Ain Shams, Matariya, and El-Marg.

Matariya has become a flashpoint of anti-government protests since the beginning of the 25 January Revolution.

In Abdel Moneim Riyadh Square, around two hundred protesters organised a demonstration in support of the police forces and the army “in the fight against terrorism”. Other participants held signs demanding that leading figures of the Brotherhood “be executed”, while others stood in solidarity with the slain Jordanian pilot Muath Al-Kaseasbeh.

An eyewitness told Daily News Egypt that the protesters wanted to “give the Egyptian army the green light to fight the black terrorism”.

It was not clear wither the protesters had a permit to protest from the Ministry of Interior. Nevertheless, security forces did not intervene to disperse the protest.

Under the current Protest Law, any gathering in the street should have an official permit from security forces.

The controversial law is officially known as the Law to Regulate the Right to Public Meetings, requiring protesters to acquire approval from the police to stage a protest. The law also states that security forces must first use verbal warnings to disperse potential protests. If this fails, police forces have the right to use water cannons, tear gas, warning shots, and rubber bullets.

The law was issued by a decree by former interim president Adly Mansour in November 2013, and places heavy restrictions on demonstrations and public expression of opinion, with any participants facing jail sentences.

State media reported that similar demonstrations took place in the cities of Mahallah, Hurghada, Tanta, Damietta, and Marsa Matruh. No reports mentioned that the protests were dispersed by the police. However, state media mention that some police personnel participated in the protest in Marsa Matruh.

In July 2013, then Field Marshal Al-Sisi, asked Egyptians to go to the streets to give the Egyptian army a “mandate to fight terrorism”, which was met by a high turnout of army supporters.

On the other hand, the Anti-Coup Alliance (ACA) released a statement Saturday morning saying that “the Egyptian people refused the mandate of murder and the calls of Al-Sisi to stage a civil war”.

The ACA is coalition of Islamist groups formed in support of former president Mohamed Morsi.

The Islamist political organisation Salafi Front also posted pictures of the pro-army demonstrations, showing a few protesters carrying Egyptian flags.

Following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, disputing political entities have been calling upon Egyptians to take to the streets and show support and solidarity almost every Friday.


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