The Egyptian government has warned activists hoping to emulate Tunisian pro-democracy protesters that they face arrest if they go ahead with mass demonstrations some have labelled as the “day of wrath”.
Hundreds have protesters have begun to take to the streets in Cairo, chanting slogans against the police, the interior minister and the government.
They were gathering outside the Egyptian capital’s largest courthouse on Tuesday and marching across the business district.
The rallies have been promoted online by groups saying they speak for young Egyptians frustrated by the kind of poverty and oppression which triggered the overthrow of Tunisia’s president.
Black-clad riot police, backed by armoured vehicles and fire engines, have been deployed in a massive security operation in Cairo, with the biggest concentrations at likely flashpoints, including: the Cairo University campus, the central Tahrir Square and the courthouse where protesters are said to be gathering.
Coinciding with a national holiday in honour of the police, a key force in keeping president Hosni Mubarak in power for 30 years, the outcome in Egypt on Tuesday is seen as a test of whether vibrant Web activism can translate into street action. Read more