27 June 2013


Egypt Gears Up for Mass Protests

Photo: Xinhua/STR
Supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi (file photo).

Both pro- and anti-Morsi groups have organised countywide protests in Egypt over the next few days to coincide with the first anniversary of President's Morsi's rule.

Opposition political parties, activists and labour unions have called for countrywide anti-government demonstrations and protests against President Mohammed Morsi on 30 June, the one-year anniversary of Morsi assuming the presidency.

The planned protests are being organised under the collective banner of the Tamarod (rebellion) campaign. The opposition is demanding that Morsi resign and a new presidential election be held. The protest will focus on the Presidential Palace in the Heliopolis area of the capital, Cairo.

Political rallies in support of and against the 30 June opposition gatherings will also be held on 27 and 28 June. The opposition has stated that it will hold a rally in Cairo's Sayeda Zeinab area on 27 June. On 28 June, another opposition rally will start in al-Azhar district and end at Tahrir Square.

A pro-government and pro-Morsi sit-in will also start in Cairo on 28 June, when supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya will gather in the vicinity of the Rabaa al-Adaweya Mosque in the Nasr City area of Cairo. Security will be increased ahead of and on 30 June.

Meanwhile, the military has reportedly placed its forces on alert near major cities while ferry and road crossings from the Sinai Peninsula will be closed. In addition, police will increase their presence in the vicinity of planned protest areas and airports will be placed on alert from 28 June to 1 July. Finally, the US and UK embassies in Cairo have announced that they will close on 30 June in anticipation of violence coinciding with the planned protests.

The upcoming protests are expected to gather tens of thousands of participants. Likely gathering points include public squares, city/town centres, Muslim Brotherhood and FJP offices, mosques, universities and government facilities. There is a high threat of violence at all gatherings.

Clashes between rival political party supporters and between police or military personnel and protesters are possible. There are also likely to be road travel disruptions in the vicinity of all protest sites while closures of other foreign diplomatic representations are also anticipated in the coming days as a precaution. The largest demonstrations are anticipated in the country's primary cities. Red Sea and southern Sinai coastal resort towns are likely to be less affected.

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