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Egypt army seals entrance to Tahrir on uprising anniversary

Shounaz Meky

Published: Updated:

Egyptian security forces sealed off all entrances leading to Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo during the late hours of Saturday ahead of the January uprising anniversary.

Armed forces deployed their tanks on the streets leading to Tahrir and set up barbed wires to prevent passersby from accessing the square.

Police sirens echoed from a distance and security forces can be seen standing by their armored personnel carriers as they intensified their presence near landmark locations and police stations elsewhere in the city.

Service roads leading to downtown areas were being gradually blocked by security personnel.

Several opposition groups, including the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and the 6 April Youth Movement, have launched calls for protests ahead of Jan. 25 to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2011 revolution.

Earlier on Saturday, a female demonstrator was killed in clashes with Egyptian police during a rare leftwing protest in central Cairo.

Shaimaa el-Sabbagh reportedly died of birdshot wounds. Fellow protesters said she was hit by police personnel attempting to disperse the march.

Amid tight security restrictions and the death of one female protester on the eve of the uprising anniversary, a member of the 6 April Youth Movement told Al Arabiya News they still insist on taking to streets on Sunday.

“The killing of Shaimaa has encouraged youth to take part in tomorrow’s protests,” Mohammad Kamal told Al Arabiya News in the early hours of Sunday.

Kamal said the group does not aim to clash with security forces.

He also said that despite forming a blockade around Tahrir, the opposition group will organize protests elsewhere.

“Tahrir is not only the place for protesting, Egyptians can demonstrate anywhere in the country,” Kamal added.

State television reported Friday that the government will “delay” the celebrations to mourn the death of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Friday.

But opposition groups that vowed to mark the uprising anniversary with protests say they are defending the demands of the 2011 revolution, which according to them have not been met.