January 25, 2015 3:09:28 pm
Authorities in Egypt tightened security in Cairo and other cities Sunday in anticipation of possible protests to mark the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
The stepped-up security came as activists mourned the death of a female protester shot Saturday in downtown Cairo while taking part in a gathering commemorating the nearly 900 protesters killed in the revolt.
Activists blame police for the death of Shaimaa el-Sabagh, a 32-year-old mother of one from the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. The government says it is investigating.
Videos posted online show el-Sabagh, a member of the leftist Popular Alliance party, with other protesters carrying placards and chanting “bread, freedom and social justice”- the chief slogan of the 2011 uprising.
Protesters near her carried wreaths of roses they intended to place at nearby Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the uprising, in memory of the fallen protesters.
In the videos, gunshots ring out and el-Sabagh falls. She is later shown carried by a male protester as blood seeped out of her mouth. The videos are consistent with Associated Press reporting on the shooting.
The government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has shown zero tolerance for street protests since a law adopted in 2013 banned them without prior permission.
Dozens of activists have been convicted and jailed for violating the law. A parallel crackdown is targeting supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, with thousands from his Muslim Brotherhood group imprisoned or facing trial.
An Islamist coalition opposed to el-Sissi said Sunday that it intended to stage street protests to mark the anniversary. Previous planned protests have fizzled out, though Cairo’s typically busy streets stood largely empty Sunday.
Police, meanwhile, sealed off several main squares in Cairo, including Tahrir, and beefed up security at vital state installations.
The measures followed a rash of roadside bombs discovered in Cairo and a string of other cities that authorities say were intended to be detonated Sunday, said security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to talk to journalists.
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