Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Nov. 11 in Egypt: Heavy Security Deployment, Absence of Demonstrators | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Members of security forces secure Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Cairo-“Demonstrators were absent… in the presence of the security,” such was the general scene in the streets of Egypt on Friday, after Egyptians were prohibited from participating in rallies that unknown social media networks had been calling for since August under the slogan of “Revolution of The Poor” to protest rising prices.

However, no opposition party claimed it was behind the call for protests.

Security forces and police had encircled the streets of Cairo since the early hours on Friday, while armored vehicles patrolled the streets throughout the day to crack down on any attempt to incite chaos or violence.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said: “The Egyptian people chose stability and development and rejected calls against that.”

Ismail told the state-run television that Egypt’s political leadership will work for the country‘s development.

The prime minister said the government was now working to provide citizens with necessary food and basic products.

In Cairo, mosques had called on worshipers to stay home and protect Egypt’s security, while published photos showed the empty streets of central Cairo, particularly Tahrir Square, which was almost free of passengers.

Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter witnessed on Friday a pour of sarcastic comments criticizing the non-participation of Egyptians in the protests.

Egyptians had used humor to describe what happened. One tweet said: “Some security officers were bored due to the absence of protestors.”

Another tweeted: “Thousands of protestors start marching from the mosques to protest the rising price of tomatoes.”

Earlier, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged Egyptians not to protest, while the Interior Ministry accused a militant group of coordinating with the Muslim Brotherhood to attack police checkpoints on the eve of the planned demonstrations.

Although the Brotherhood did not say it was behind the calls for protests, observers asserted that the group preferred to monitor the scene and then adopt the demonstrations in case of a high turnout.

However, on Friday, the security forces at the Interior Ministry succeeded to drive Egypt to the safe shores by cracking down on any attempt to incite chaos throughout the country.

Security sources said police chased dozens of protesters away from Arbaeen Square in Suez, near the place where the first protester was killed in 2011. The police said they registered no significant breaches.