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The New Arab

Egyptian regime cranks up repression machine ahead of protests

Security forces deployed across the country as a state of emergency is declared [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 November, 2016

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Egyptian authorities are taking no chances ahead of protests called for Friday's 'Poor Revolution'.
Egyptian authorities declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the ‘Poor Revolution’ protests set to spark across the country on Friday.

Scores of security forces deployed across much of the nation to block off public facilities, including banks and prisons, while monitoring public squares where most protesters gather in large numbers.

In September, a group called ‘Movement of the Poor’ – supporters of the outlawed MB - called for mass anti-government demonstrations to protest against the rising cost of living.

Authorities responded by clamping down on those accused of organising the event, including eight people who were detained for 15 days pending investigations.

The authorities claimed a stash of weapons allegedly belonging to Muslim Brotherhood [MB] supporters were discovered by Egyptian authorities on Thursday, just hours before the capital anticipated major protests against deteriorating economic conditions.

The ammunition was purportedly found in a graveyard and a house in the Fayoum province, southwest of Cairo, authorities said.

"The armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood intended to use the weapons in terrorist attacks as they take advantage of economic conditions to incite protests," said a government statement.

Egyptian authorities have often claimed Muslim Brotherhood supporters are armed to justify violent repression of protests.

Egypt has recently witnessed shortages of staples such as rice, sugar and oil – due to a shortage of dollars in the country and the plunging black market value of the Egyptian pound.

In October, a taxi driver set himself on fire in front of an army centre in Sidi Gaber, east Alexandria, reportedly in protest against the country's high prices and poor living conditions.

Witnesses reported that Ashraf Shaheen, 30, started criticising the government before pouring gasoline on himself and setting himself alight.

The self-immolation was followed by a viral video showing an enraged tuk-tuk driver unloading on the state of Egypt's flagging economy.

Between 40,000 and 60,000 political prisoners have been jailed in Egypt since the military ousting of President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 propped up army General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a seat of power. 

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