CAIRO- Supporters and opponents of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi are set to demonstrate Saturday on the third anniversary of Egypt’s uprising marked by tensions a day after bombings hit Cairo.
Both Morsi’s backers and those of the military, which ousted him in July, have called for mass protests, prompting security forces to block off areas of the capital over fears of more violence.
Tahrir Square, epicentre of the popular revolt that toppled autocratic president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, was closed off by police and soldiers ahead of the commemoration.
Mubarak was forced to step down on February 11, 2011 after 18 days of demonstrations that left some 850 people dead, ending his 30-year hold on the Arab world’s most populous country.
Immediately after the ageing president’s ouster, Egypt’s powerful armed forces took power, handing the reins over 16 months later to Morsi — the country’s first democratically elected, civilian head of state.
But late last June, after just one year of turbulent rule by Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party, millions of Egyptians took to the streets to demand his resignation.
Three days later, army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced Morsi’s ouster. Since July, the Islamist president has been held by the military and is on trial in four separate cases.
Since then, security forces have embarked on a bloody crackdown on Morsi’s supporters — particularly his Muslim Brotherhood, which dominated all major polls after the 2011 uprising.
At least 1,000 people have been killed and thousands of Islamists have been arrested, while the military-installed authorities branded the Brotherhood a “terrorist” organisation in December following a deadly attack on the police.
But the Brotherhood issued a condemnation of the attack, and an Al-Qaeda-inspired jihadist group claimed the bombing.