Egypt presidential palace turned to a military base

Security tightens as talk of marching continues


As rumors of marching towards the presidential palace spreads among protestors who demand the removal of the Egyptian regime, the president’s residence has witnessed unprecedented security precautions that made the eastern Cairo mansion resemble a military base.

Egypt’s presidential palace, located in the east Cairo neighborhood of Heliopolis, is surrounded by barbed wire and army tanks are stationed around all its gates, the Saudi newspaper al-Hayat reported Wednesday.

Tight security around the presidential palace is especially demonstrated in the measures taken with journalists. While in normal cases, journalists were allowed into the main building in order to listen to statements made by officials and politicians, they are now taken to the Press Center, which is a separate annex.

Instead of being in direct contact with officials who issue the statements, journalists now get those statements via TV screens in the Press Center. They are also not allowed to leave the annex unless they are heading out of the palace.

Representatives of Egypt’s official newspapers are present at the Press Center on a daily basis while very few foreign journalists show up there. It was also noticed that spokesman of the presidential palace Ambassador Soliman Awwad is not present.

Only cameras of state TV are allowed to cover any press conferences that take place in the presidential palace, while cameras of other stations are all occupied with the coverage of the protests in Tahrir Square, where the future of Egypt is currently being shaped.

The Egyptian political scene is, therefore, divided between the massive rally in Downtown Cairo, which has become the talk of the world and whose events are broadcast on all regional and international channels, and the presidential palace, where all preparations for the coming stage are shrouded with secrecy and mystery.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)