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Intensive security deployment in Egypt amid calls for demonstrations

Image of Egyptian security forces [file photo]
Egyptian security forces [file photo]

Egyptian public squares are witnessing intensive security spread by the coup authorities, in conjunction with calls to celebrate the ninth commemoration of the Egyptian revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

Egypt’s Ministry of Interior has announced a state of emergency in all its sectors and prevented granting leave to officers and recruits until 31 January, in conjunction with calls by opposition forces and Egyptian activists to protest in the streets on Saturday.

According to the Egyptian news source, Youm7: “The security services are reinforcing their presence around state institutions and vital installations, coinciding with the commemoration of the 25 January revolution and Police Day celebrations.”

READ: Egypt expands arrest campaigns ahead of revolution anniversary

“The security heads plan to visit the streets and squares to make sure police are deployed well, to review the security plans and to ensure the strict and strong dealing with any attempts to break the law,” added the news source.

Cairo witnessed yesterday: “A state of security alert, and the security services deployed formations from the central security sector and investigation officers in public places, while security forces have been concentrated in axes and main roads, with the tightening of the presence of border ambushes,” according to Al-Masry Al-Youm website.

“The security services have also increased their presence around vital areas, places of worship and police locations,” added the website.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly issued a decision that Saturday will become a paid official holiday for the occasion of the commemoration of the 25 January Revolution, and Police Day.

Sisi Era - Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Sisi Era – Cartoon [Carlos Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

The paid holiday decision includes those working in ministries, government departments, public authorities, local administration units, public sector companies, and public business sector companies.

According to Akhbar El-Yom newspaper, a number of social media pages referred to the government’s granting of a holiday on Sunday instead of Saturday, coinciding with the regular weekly leaves of most of those working in government authorities and public sector companies.

 Women Against the Coup

The Egyptian Women Against the Coup movement stressed its full support for all peaceful moves that could bring down the military coup and grant the rights of martyrs and detainees in prisons, pointing out that its position coincides with the return of what it described as “the spirit of revolution and determination to defeat injustice and eradicate its roots,” accompanying the ninth commemoration of the 25 January Revolution.

The movement expressed on Friday in a statement, of which Arabi21 obtained a copy, its surprise over the: “State of panic prevailing in the coupists, despite all their tools of repression and abuse, but we know that all of these repressive means cannot stand in front of the steadfastness of the revolutionary Egyptian people, who often suffered the oppression of the military, and who have become preoccupied with nothing but the reclamation of their stolen rights and the victory of their usurped revolution.”

The movement stressed its full support for the detainees in prison, asserting that it will not give up its demands for their immediate release, and: “The penalisation of the criminal coupists for their killing of the young people and the stealing of the wealth of the country.”

“We have not and will not forget the martyrs of the honourable January revolution, who sacrificed their lives for this country; so we will not fail them until we pay them back their rights or else we will not be over without this,” added the movement.

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It further stated that: “The constant fear of the coup authority, which reflected in its behaviour from 3 July 2013 until today, as well as the campaigns of arrest and attack, will not succeed in suppressing those who wish to demonstrate peacefully and will not succeed in intimidating the youth of the January revolution from completing its path and course. This will rather be an additional increase in the anger that will generate more protest, and it is time for the authorities to realise that confronting the people will not be through prevention and repression, but rather by granting the freedoms that were among the major goals of the January revolution.”

The Women Against the Coup movement announced its full support for the campaign that some activists and revolutionaries have launched under the name “January is a revolution and we will complete it,” calling for the release of the detainees, and “The ousting of the military regime that extremely damaged the land, as this state will not develop only by the return of the rights to those who deserve them.”

 Virtual and informational skirmishes

Coinciding with the ninth commemoration of the January Revolution, the tone of virtual and media skirmishes between supporters and opponents of popular protests has increased, amid intensive security tightening, that usually precedes the commemoration of the revolution.

The commemoration of the revolution was preceded by media warnings and conflicting hashtags across social media platforms in the country, while calm prevails in the streets and squares.

Protesters from the Egyptian Revolutionary Council and UK anti-Coup organisations demonstrate outside InterContinental Hotel against President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who is attending UK Africa Investment Summit in London, United Kingdom on 20 January, 2020 [Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency]

Wael Ghonim, one of the symbols of the revolution’s youth abroad, has posted via his Twitter account the list of opponents of the organisation of protests, in contrast to calls made by the opposition building contractor, Mohamed Ali, who is considered by the authority circles as a “traitor to the country”.

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Two opposition hashtags, “Go Away” and “Going Down to the Street on 25 January”, competed to attract oppositionists on social media platforms, to urge demonstrations and protests against the authorities.

Meanwhile, pro-regime media professionals called for the opening of the main squares on 25 January, to show the failure of the protest and demonstration calls to mobilise the masses.

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