Egypt Ramps Up Security Ahead of Anticipated Friday Protests

Security apparatuses across Egypt raised their state of alert in main cities and squares, in preparation for acts of violence that might occur on Friday.

The Salafist front is organising protests on Friday November 28, calling on people to take to the streets holding Qurans to “impose the Islamic identity.”

The protection of strategic facilities has been handed over to the armed forces as of Wednesday evening. The facilities include the state TV building, central bank, electricity and water stations.

The armed forces also implemented measures to guard borders, and the Suez Canal waterway, to prevent infiltration of armed “terrorist elements” who carry out “hostile” acts on the Egyptian territory.

Combat forces of the special forces unit were also deployed in fixed and mobile points within the scope of police stations to assist in securing vital facilities. The military police also set up ambushes and deployed patrols to arrest suspected “criminals” on main roads across the country.

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim issued orders to activate maximum security measures to secure vital facilities and police installations, and ensure forces are armed with suitable weapons to deter any attempts to attack them.

Ibrahim said last week that all security apparatuses were ready to “abort the calls of extremist groups which aim for attacking public and private property on November 28.”

Egypt’s al-Azhar University board has issued a decision on Wednesday allowing police forces to handle security of campuses starting Thursday morning until Saturday evening.

A number of ministries, security and service apparatuses, also announced implementing security measures in anticipation of violence or chaos that might occur on Friday.

The ministry of health activated an emergency plan on Thursday, which entails dispatching 2673 ambulance cars across the governorates, suspending all leaves for staff at the ambulance authority, and running inspections on all cars and medical equipment.

The ministry of petroleum declared on Thursday that gas stations all over Egypt are completely secure, and service will be provided to citizens as usual. It added that a plan has been devised with security forces to protect oil installations and warehouses.

Trains will operate regularly on Friday on all lines, the national railway authority announced on Thursday, adding that surveillance cameras, explosives detectors will be installed, and secret police will be present to secure trains.

Egypt’s religious institution, Al-Azhar, ministry of endowments, and several parties, including the salafi Nour party, have decried the calls to protest, describing them as “destructive” and a “blatant act of mixing religion and politics”.

The g Egypt Party, headed by former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, also said it will not participate in the protests.

Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood, however, welcomed on Sunday the call for the protests, describing the scheduled protests as “a new wave of the glorious Egyptian revolution” in a statement.

The Brotherhood stressed that “every Egyptian faction” is entitled to expressing their opinion “with complete freedom [and] without being accused of treason or of being infidels.”

The group also warned the authorities of committing acts of “vandalism” or “killing innocent [men]” and framing “the revolution[aries]” for such acts.

Source : Aswat Masriya