Egypt's day of reckoning?

Egypt's day of reckoning?
Troops are on the streets of Cairo again. Public spaces have been closed with talk of a "million man march" tomorrow. Is talk of huge protests on Friday hot air, or will it be a day that changes Egypt?
3 min read
27 November, 2014
Hundreds have been killed in protests since former president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown [AFP-Getty]

Cairo's streets are tense ahead of planned demonstrations against the Egyptian regime tomorrow. The event has already been dubbed by supporters as 'the Muslim Youth Uprising'.

The protests are being organised by the Salafist Front, part of the Anti-Coup Alliance, a myriad of political and activist groups that oppose the government of Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

Authorities in Cairo are making desperate attempts to deter peopel from taking part in the demonstrations, with Interior Minister, Mohammed Ibrahim, issuing almost daily threats to Egyptians who intend to take part in the protest.

Cairo has already mobilised a number of pro-government preachers and the Salafist group, al-Nour Party, to speak on its behalf against the anti-coup movement. Many have forbidden their followers from taking part in demonstrations, while others have described the protests as "sinful".

Soldiers on the streets

Four months ago, armed forces withdrew tanks and armoured vehicles from the streets of Egyptian cities. Soldiers and tanks are now back, and major squares in Cairo and Alexandria have been closed by the military.

These include Tahrir, Rabia, and al-Nahda squares in Cairo and Giza, names that have become synonymous with revolt.

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Whether the protests are successful or not will depend on the response of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose government and president were overthrown in a military coup.

A Muslim Brotherhood leader, who requested anonymity, has dismissed state media coverage of the event as "exaggerations" and "sensationalization", saying that 
he did  not expect a large turnout tomorrow, but insisted that the protests that do take place will be peaceful.

The Brotherhood leader says that his supporters were committed to the principles of non-violence laid out by the movement.

On 20th November, the regime arrested prominent Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohammed Ali Beshr in anticipation of the protests.

Unity not division

Activist group, the April 6 Youth Movement [Ahmed Maher Front] said in a press conference that it would not be taking part in tomorrow’s protests. They said that calls for demonstrations go against the movement’s principles, saying that they would further divide Egypt.

The Democratic Front of the movement has stated that the interior ministry was "afraid" of Friday’s protests, because it was aware of "the magnitude of its crimes and anticipated outrage from the demonstrators".

The anti-coup National Alliance Supporting Legitimacy meanwhile issues a statement declaring that a "revolutionary week" would start from tomorrow.

A statement from the organisation called for a million man march on Friday. Millions more Egyptians hold their breath.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.