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Egypt braces for 'Police Day' as revolution anniversary nears Open in fullscreen

Nada Ramadan

Egypt braces for 'Police Day' as revolution anniversary nears

Egyptian police will deploy heavily armoured troops in public squares ahead of revolution anniversary [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 January, 2016

Egypt's interior ministry's preparations for the fifth anniversary of the 25 January revolution include tightened security measures and a crackdown on anyone calling to renew protests.

Egypt's interior ministry has announced a nationwide high security alert ahead of the fifth anniversary of the 25 January revolution and Police Day celebrations.

The tightened security measures include the deployment of heavily armoured troops in public squares and in front of police station and government buildings.

The ministry also released a modified version of the Egyptian flag, with its logo and slogans, "the police of the people" and "long live Egypt!" The second was the slogan of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's presidential campaign in 2014.

Sources told Egyptian daily Youm 7 that security forces will be especially monitoring cafes near Tahrir Square, where "activists and loyalists of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group gather to promote extremism and chaos".

In addition, the authorities have banned all real estate companies and hotels in Downtown Cairo from renting rooms or apartments to anyone ahead of 25 January, according to the same source.

In the next few days, security patrols will also monitor the Downtown area from 11pm until dawn.

Security forces have also launched large preemptive arrest campaigns against people calling to renew protests on 25 January or linked to anti-regime Facebook pages.

Interior ministry spokesperson Abu Bakr Abdel Karim confirmed last week that security forces had detained people "calling for marches on the coming 25 January", Reuters reported.

"The administrators of these pages were arrested on charges of inciting against state institutions and spreading the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood," Abdel Karim added.

The authorities have banned all real estate companies and hotels in Downtown Cairo from renting rooms or apartments to anyone ahead of 25 January.

Facebook was a crucial tool for protesters who occupied Tahrir Square during the revolution, and the subsequent demonstrations against the military junta that took over.

Calls for protests on the fifth anniversary of the revolution have been circulating on social media outlets, asking people to protest against the current regime and its widely publicised human rights abuses.

Among those arrested was Taher Mokhtar, a member of the Freedoms Committee at the Doctors Syndicate and a long-time revolutionary socialist activist.

Mokhtar had been actively campaigning against medical negligence in Egyptian prisons.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood called for anti-government protests to "renew the revolutionary trend".

"A new January has come. A January of bread, freedom, and social justice," Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Mohamed Montaser said.

"The current January will not be our peak of the struggle."

The Muslim Brotherhood have been outlawed as a "terrorist organisation" since a military coup overthrew Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president in 2013.

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