Egypt's minister of religious endowments, one of the state's top religious authorities, condemned on Friday "calls to sabotage and attack the state," in what seemed to be a reference to anti-government protests planned for the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising.
"There are calls these days by infiltrators to attack the state, its institutions, and its people, through killing, assaulting, and vandalising," said Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, speaking during a Friday sermon in the northern governorate of Beheira.
Gomaa quoted a statement by Dar El-Ifta, the state body that issues Islamic edicts, which described calls for protests as "representing vandalising and killing, a crime in its full elements."
He added that elected parliamentary members are the only ones who are able to present peoples' demands and rights and would do so using “normal democratic” methods, adding that people should stand against the calls for protests, revenge, and destruction.
The ministry of religious endowments is one of the state's top religious authorities.
Anti-government protests are planned to take place on the fifth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, which led to the toppling of ex-president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Calls for protests have been circulating on social media under the slogan “we will drop the tyranny.”
Last month, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi denounced calls for protests and a “new revolution” in January, asking the groups behind these calls if they want to "ruin this country and destroy the people."
On the fourth anniversary of the uprising last year, twenty-three people were killed and 97 injured at protests around the country following clashes between protesters and the police.
A law passed in 2013 bans public protests that have not received prior permission from the interior minister. Protesters have been jailed over the past two years for not abiding by this law.