Army seals off Mostafa Mahmoud Square

Army forces closed off all roads leading to Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Giza’s Mohandiseen district Wednesday morning, ahead of protests planned by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, reported state news agency MENA.

Using tanks and APCs, the army sealed off the square, which in the past months has been a site of demonstrations and clashes between security forces and protesters demanding the reinstatement of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

MENA reported that security forces are trying to prevent any violence from taking place after leading Brotherhood member Essam al-Erian said the group and its supporters will continue protesting, in a recorded message broadcast on Al Jazeera two days ago.

Protests by supporters of the group have grown since Morsi was removed from power by the army on July 3 after mass protests demanding his resignation. Two sit-ins demanding his reinstatement lasted more than a month before they were forcibly dispersed in mid-August by security forces, leaving hundreds dead.

Since then, protests have taken place in a more decentralized manner and marches are regularly held in neighborhoods around the country, at times leading to clashes with both security forces and residents of the areas.

Protesters, who label themselves as “anti-coup” and say they are against the interim government as well as the army’s intervention in politics, often come into confrontation with staunch supporters of Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

On the October 6 War anniversary, marches attempting to reach Tahrir Square were stopped by security forces and ensuing clashes left more than 50 dead.

Security measures were stepped up especially for Eid prayer on Tuesday morning in anticipation of possible clashes between supporters and opponents, but no major confrontations were reported.

Still, some demonstrations and marches did take place Tuesday morning. 

In Qena, protesters reportedly chanted against the army and lit fireworks, after which security measures were tightened around the governorate, near the prison and around government buildings, according to MENA.

Meanwhile in Qalyubiya, 11 Brotherhood members were arrested on charges of incitement and calling for protests during Eid celebrations. They were in possession of Molotovs and weapons, MENA reported. Among the arrested was leading MB member Anwar Abu Zeid, who served in the now dissolved parliament.

In Fayoum, a member of the MB’s Freedom and Justice Party was arrested allegedly with leaflets against the army and police that he was meant to distribute after Eid prayer, the state agency reported. In Suez, marches took off en route to the main Arbeen Square.

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