Friday, 28 January 2011

Egyptian security forces on high alert as protest get backed by MB

Egyptian security forces have been put on high alert as thousands of anti-government activists prepare for another day of protests after Friday noon's prayers. The government has forewarned the protestors that "decisive measures" will be taken against those demonstrating in public, which the government has banned after Thursday's demonstrations in Cairo.

The government has also taken extra measures to prevent the demonstrations from going ahead, namely by blocking the use of internet across the country and effectively wiping Egypt off the global digital map.

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Egypt's leading opposition group, has said that it will support Friday's protests, and accused the government of engineering the digital disruption "to prevent the voices of the Egyptian people from reaching the world". Mohamed El Baradei, the country's main opposition figure, also said he would join in the protests. Returning to Cairo from Vienna on Thursday, El Baradei said:"I wish we did not have to go out on the streets to press the regime to act," adding that the government should "listen quickly, not use violence and understand that change has to come”.

The protests are expected to be the biggest so far. The government has upped its security measures, deploying an elite counter-terrorism force to key locations in Cairo, including Tahrir Square.

Shortly after Thursday's protests ruling National Democratic Party's (NDP) Secretary General, Safwat El-Sheri, said: "The NDP is ready for a dialogue with the public, youth and legal parties. But democracy has its rules and process. The minority does not force its will on the majority."

Sources: BBC News, Aljazeera, NPR, France24

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

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