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Egypt tightens security measures ahead of potential protests this Friday

November 9, 2022 at 12:23 pm

Security personnel stand outside in the convention center hosting the COP27 climate conference in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on November 8, 2022 [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt’s Ministry of Interior has announced a state of maximum alert ahead of calls to protest this Friday at the same time as the UN climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Activists on social media have called for demonstrations on 11/11 to draw attention to the country’s abysmal human rights record and spiralling economic conditions.

According to a report in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfiq has cancelled all annual leave for personnel until the conference ends on 18 November.

Tawfiq has also stepped-up security in main streets and squares and around government buildings in Cairo and Alexandria where protests have been staged in the past.

Intelligence services are continuing to stop Egyptians at roadblocks put in place to search their mobile phones for anti-government content.

Tawfiq has ordered that cafes and shops in downtown Cairo shut at 3pm on Friday and that sports and arts events are cancelled with the threat of fines if they do not comply.

READ: 3 Egypt journalists go on hunger strike to free detained activist

Football and volleyball matches scheduled for 11 November have been cancelled and prominent singer Mohamed Mounir has postponed a concert which was to be held on Thursday night.

The news of tightening security measures comes as the government has launched an arrest campaign ahead of possible demonstrations.

At the beginning of this week, human rights watchdog Amnesty International said that at least 151 detainees were currently being investigated.

Last week, authorities arrested Indian climate activist Ajit Rajagopol at a checkpoint after he attempted to walk from Cairo to Sharm El-Sheikh as part of the March for our Planet global campaign.

Security forces also arrested the deputy editor of the state-run Radio and Television Magazine from her home in Cairo.

Authorities have tightened security at the COP27 conference centre in Sharm El-Sheikh, installing cameras in taxis ferrying participants around.

Attendees have been warned not to download an app created by the government with a floorplan and conference programme because it gives intelligence services access to their location, photos and email.