Egyptian military occupy Tahrir ahead of revolution anniversary

Egyptian military occupy Tahrir ahead of revolution anniversary
3 min read
23 January, 2016
As part of a preemptive crackdown on protests, the Egyptian military have moved into Tahrir Square ahead of the fifth anniversary of the outbreak of the revolution.
Armoured vehicles and troops have been stationed in Tahrir apparently to prevent protests [Twitter]
On Friday night the Egyptian military moved into Tahrir Square to block the streets that lead to the iconic epicentre of the anti-Mubarak revolt.

The Egyptian army announced Friday that it would beef up security measures to secure vital installations and "confront any attempt to violate the law, or impact on the nation's security and stability".

The army said in a statement on Facebook that security patrols and special forces are helping the police secure public facilities, bridges, main roads and city centres.

Photos have been shared on Twitter of armoured vehicles and troops stationed in the square in an apparent attempt to prevent protests. 

The military's statement on Friday comes amid an ongoing pre-emptive crackdown on dissent ahead of the fifth anniversary of the country's 2011 revolution.

Authorities have raided and searched as many as 5,000 flats in the past ten days, primarily in downtown Cairo, seeking to prevent protests planned for 25 January.

Residents of downtown Cairo have said that local cafes, often frequented by activists, have also been raided, and their owners harrassed and questioned about their clientale.


The Egyptian interior ministry has warned against any "chaos" on Monday.

Meanwhile, anti-coup protesters staged a rare large demonstration on Friday in north Cairo. Public protest was essentially criminalised following the 2013 military coup which lead to the overthrow of the then President Mohammad Morsi. 

Protesters chanted "the people want the downfall of the regime", echoing the iconic 2011 chant of the Arab Spring.

The Muslim Brotherhood called for anti-government protests to "renew the revolutionary trend".

Protesters chanted 'the people want the downfall of the regime', echoing the iconic 2011 chant of the Arab Spring.


"A new January has come. A January of bread, freedom, and social justice," Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Mohamed Montaser said.

"The current January will not be our peak of the struggle."

During a speech on Friday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi asked Egyptians not to treat him as a president but as "one of the people", and hailed "martyrs" from the police force.

During the 18 days of the revolution members of Egyptian security forces, predominantly the police, killed at least 846 people.

The Egyptian regime has branded the upcoming fifth anniversary of the revolution "national police day".

Sisi's rule has been broadly condemned for its human rights abuses, with rights groups reporting that there are at least 41,000 political prisoners behind bars in Egypt.