Egyptians expect large demonstrations Friday, the second anniversary of the country’s revolution. Police clashed Thursday with protesters demonstrating against President Mohamed Morsi and the Islamist-backed government.
Protesters tried to dismantle a wall of blocks shutting off a street leading to Tahrir Square, the birthplace of 2011's revolution. The demonstrators also plan to gather in front of the presidential palace, where rallies against Morsi in December descended into deadly clashes with Islamists.
"I call on everyone to take part and go out to every place in Egypt to show that the revolution must be completed," the opposition leader and former head of the UN's atomic agency Mohamed ElBaradei said in a statement.
In addition to tensions between the Islamist government and a secular political class that helped bring down the regime of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Egypt faces an economic crisis, with dwindling foreign tourism and investments, the pound dangerously low against the dollar, and a deficit that shows no sign of recovering.
‘Freedom, social justice'
Calling for "bread, freedom, social justice" - the slogan from 2011's revolution - the secular opposition has organized mass protests against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood,
Security forces have prepared for a heavy deployment, an official said, especially in Egypt's second city, Alexandria,
The Brotherhood has not officially called its own rallies and will mark the anniversary with a new initiative, "Together we will build Egypt." In a speech on Thursday to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, Morsi urged "peaceful and civilized" observance of the anniversary.
mkg/ipj (AFP, Reuters, dpa)