Hundreds of Egyptians protest on anniversary of revolution

Hundreds of Egyptians protest on anniversary of revolution
Egyptians have ignored tight security and government warnings and have gone out to voice their anger at the Sisi government on the anniversary of the 2011 uprising.
4 min read
25 January, 2016
Protesters have taken part in marches across Egypt [TNA]

Egyptians have taken to the streets across the country to mark the fifth anniversary of the January 25 uprising, despite a recent escalation in the ongoing crackdown against opponents of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government.

In the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, hundreds of mostly women protesters held marches in districts across the city on Monday, The New Arab's Arabic service reported.

Protesters held up posters of ousted Islamist president Mohammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Rabaa sign.

"Down with military rule. We're coming down on the 25th," protesters shouted.

Protesters also took to the streets in several provinces in the Nile Delta, and in the Cairo districts of al-Maadi and Saft al-Laban.

Security forces detained ten women in a protest in al-Maadi and fired tear gas at protesters in the Delta city of Kafr al-Sheikh, according to The New Arab's Egypt correspondent.

Police said on Monday that they killed a "leader of a terrorist cell" in Beni Suef, 120 kilometres south of Cairo, during an exchange of gunfire with policemen.

A source close to the deceased told The New Arab that the 24-year-old was in fact arrested two weeks ago and was killed at the State Security headquarters in Beni Suef and his death has only just been announced.

Police deployed on streets in Cairo near Tahrir Square to head off protests, the Tahrir metro station was closed for "security purposes" with security also being beefed up around police stations.

A free speech NGO has said that a photographer was arrested for taking photos with his mobile phone close to Tahrir square and that anchorwomen Azza al-Henawi, who has cricisied Sisi in the past, was prevented from filming her weekly TV show on Sunday.  

Read more: Egypt's president praises 2011 revolution, but urges 'patience'

The blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is the only group to have called for protests, said in a statement released for the anniversary that there would be no future reconciliation with the "murderous coup regime".

Since Morsi was ousted in July 2013, hundreds of his supporters have been killed and thousands imprisoned in a harsh police crackdown, while dozens of secular and leftist activists have also been jailed.

      Police deployed on streets near Tahrir Square [TNA]

In the run-up to the anniversary, security forces have intensified the crackdown on would-be dissidents.

Police have carried out around 5,000 raids on apartments in downtown Cairo close to the iconic Tahrir square - the epicentre of anti-government protests in 2011, and since.

Police have stormed homes, looking through laptops, tablets and phones for anything suspicious and arrested several youth activists who took part in the 18-day uprising that ended longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

Activist hangouts including cafes, cultural centres and a publishing house near Tahrir square were also raided or shut down.

The government has repeatedly warned people against taking part in protests on January 25 this year.

Sisi has said a new revolution would destroy the country, and the grand mufti has said that people killed in protests were not "martyrs".

Famed for knowing when a storm is on the way, even TV meteorologists have warned against taking to the streets - because of supposedly bad weather predicted.

Police killed two opposition activists during a raid on an apartment in Alexandria early on Monday. Officers said the men opened fire on them before police "eliminated" them.

Similarly, police killed a "terrorist" in the Brotherhood stronghold of Kerdasa on Sunday during a raid on a flat suspected of containing explosives.

Also on Sunday, gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a security checkpoint, killing two police officers and a bystander on the eve of the anniversary of the 2011 uprising.

Another two police officers were wounded in am attack near the town of Faqous in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, north of Cairo.

The shootings come after eight people - including six police officers - were killed in a bomb blast on Thursday in Cairo.

The explosion in the capital's al-Haram district, near the pyramids, came as police raided an apartment suspected to be a militant hideout.

An Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the fatal blast.