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Defence ministry marches wrap up without serious incident

Day that saw ten different anti-SCAF protest marches converge on defence ministry ends without any reported incidents of violence

Ahram Online, Friday 10 Feb 2012
Thousands of protesters gather near defence ministry
Thousands of anti-SCAF protesters gather near Egypt's defence ministry on Friday, 10 February 2011 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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A few thousand protesters reached Egypt's Ministry of Defence Friday evening chanting slogans against the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Different protest marches arrived from the Cairo districts of Shubra, Ramses Square and Heliopolis.

At least ten different marches had been planned to set out from the following locations: Youssef Al-Sahabi Mosque in Hegaz Square; Rabaa Al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City; Matariya Square, Alf Maskan Square and Sheikh Mosque in Hadayek Al-Kobba; Cleopatra Church in Heliopolis; Al-Fath Mosque in Ramses Square; Al-Khazindar Mosque in Shubra; Orabi Bridge in Shubra Al-Kheima; and Al-Nedir Mosque in Al-Zawiya Al-Hamra.

Activists assembled at these meeting points at midday from which they set out for the defence ministry following Friday prayers.

According to one Ahram Online reporter, most protesters failed to cross the Fangary Bridge en route to the ministry. The military has erected barbed-wire fences and stationed army trucks near the bridge with the aim of halting protesters' progress.

Military personnel played military marches at high volume in an effort to drown out protesters' anti-SCAF chants. Some protesters responded by shouting, "[SCAF head Field Marshal] Tantawi has lost his mind."

As of print, many protesters appeared to be leaving the area. Others, however, said they planned to stage a symbolic hour-long protest vigil before departing.

While Friday's anti-SCAF march to the defence ministry ended without serious incident, past attempts have ended in clashes. A planned anti-SCAF march on the defence ministry in July of last year was thwarted when military police sealed all entrances to Abbasiya. The march eventually led to limited clashes between protesters and security forces.

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