Amid heavy security presence throughout the country, minor anti-government protests continue to be violently dispersed throughout Monday. No casualties have been reported at this time.
Protesters affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood have taken to the streets in small groups in several governorates since Sunday night, defying security forces deployed throughout the country in anticipation of anti-government demonstrations.
The protests come as the now outlawed group has called upon its followers and “the Egyptian people” to begin a new “revolutionary wave”. In a statement published Sunday night, the group said “the coup regime will witness an unprecedented and unexpected revolutionary wave… which will disturb its plans”.
The statement said the “security preparations and the obvious anxiety within the regime are a clear sign of fear”.
Similarly, the Anti-Coup Alliance (ACA) reiterated the necessity of being able to stage protests on the anniversary of the 25 January Revolution. In a statement, the alliance indicated a number of locations, mostly mosques, as starting points for protests. The locations included mosques in Al-Haram, Mohandessin, Imbaba, 6th of October City, Matariya, Helwan, Faisal, and Maadi.
Monday morning saw a number of protests in Sharqeya, Fayoum, Menufiya and other governorates. Most demonstrations saw protesters lining residential streets or marching through populated neighborhood. Some demonstrators set off fireworks before being dispersed by riot police.
Four active demonstrations were reported in Alexandria, composed mostly of women. It was reported that the protesters carried anti-government banners and posters depicting the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sign.
In 6th of October City, dozens demonstrated near Vodafone Square, denouncing the government and the police. They also raised posters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. However, riot police dispersed the gathering within 30 minutes of its formation.
The Ministry of Interior said: “Six Brotherhood members were arrested while protesting.”
Also in Matariya, 12 protesters were arrested on charges of “inciting people to protest”.
Further, anti-riot police forces dispersed a protest near Mataryia Square, with protestors reporting that police used live ammunition.
In Kafr El-Shiekh, eyewitnesses said police forces fired tear gas at protesters, after an attempt to block the international road in the city using burned tires. Police arrested five protesters.
In Shubra, three protesters were arrested after setting off fireworks and blocking roads, the interior ministry said. Similarly in Damietta, five protesters were arrested on “sabotage” charges.
A representative from the Ministry of Interior’s media office said all arrested protesters will be referred to the prosecution to continue the investigation process.
According to state news agency MENA, dozens of pro-government protesters marched through Tahrir Square and down Mohamed Mahmoud Street holding Egyptian flags and posters bearing the images of police victims, and chanting “The police and the people are one hand”. Security forces and military tanks were close-at-hand.
The pro-government protesters handed flowers and candy to police officers.
In a different context, an improvised explosive device (IED) was disarmed in Alexandria Monday morning after civilians reported a suspicious object in Al-Max Street.
Police said the object was placed on the residential street by unknown persons, but explosives experts were able to disarm it.
The explosive experts found that the IED’s detonation mechanism was controlled by a remote control device.
On Monday morning, Cairo streets were uncharacteristically vacant, as security forces tightened their grip over the streets. 25 January also marks National Police Day, which is a national holiday.
All roads and entries leading to Ittihadiya presidential palace were blocked by security forces on Monday morning, and several checkpoints were established at the entrances to Tahrir Square, while the square’s Sadat metro station was closed. Many streets in downtown were also blocked, mainly near the Ministry of Interior headquarters in Falaki Street.
Additional reporting by Menan Khater
Photos by Ahmed Hendawy