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US embassy warns nationals of weekend protests in Egypt

American citizens in Egypt urged to avoid potential demonstration sites this weekend as Egypt prepares for rival Sunday protests

Ahram Online , Friday 4 Oct 2013
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The US Embassy in Cairo warned its citizens to remain cautious after the pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) called for protests from Friday until Sunday, 6 October, which is the armed forces day national holiday.

The embassy called on its citizens to avoid metro stations, one possible venue for protests.  It also warned against potential blockings by protestors of the Sixth of October, Qasr Al-Nile, and University bridges, in addition to major roads and highways leading to Tahrir square, Rabaa Al-Adawiya, and Nahda square.

Cairo's Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Giza's Nahda square were the sites of two major sit-ins in support of deposed president Mohamed Morsi before being violently dispersed by security forces in mid-August.

"While the protests have been described by organisers as peaceful, there is a possibility they could spark confrontation with rival protestors as well as with security forces," read the statement. It also noted that rival groups, including the anti-Morsi Rebel campaign, have also called for rallies on Sunday in support of the army and the interim government.

Both the Rebel campaign and the NASL have called on their loyalists to converge on Sunday – the forty-year anniversary of Egypt's 1973 war with Israel – in squares nationwide, including the iconic Tahrir square. This has raised fears of potential clashes between the two groups.

On Friday, thousands of Morsi supporters staged demonstrations in Cairo and across the country.  Security forces reportedly fired tear gas at pro-Morsi protesters near Tahrir square, according to state news agency MENA. 

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