Dozens of anti-military and anti-Brotherhood coalition protesters gathered in front of the Journalists Syndicate (Photo: Amal Kenwi)
A protest at the Journalists' Syndicate in downtown Cairo has been dispersed by security forces firing birdshot and heavy teargas. Armoured vehicles reportedly drove through the demonstration to disperse the crowd.
Demonstrators at the press syndicate had chanted against the military and the Muslim Brotherhood. They had then marched from the building with intentions of reaching Tahrir Square, a few blocks away, but were stopped mid-way at Talaat Harb Square, where they clashed with supporters of General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi coming up from the pro-military celebrations in Tahrir.
Thousands of Egyptians had already been gathered in Tahrir Square in support of the current interim government and in particular armed forces chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. Saturday's celebrations mark the third anniversary of the 25 January 2011 revolution.
The march from the Journalists' Syndicate included members of the Socialist Popular Alliance, the Justice and Freedom Youth and other independent movements.
It also included members of the Way of the Revolution Front, a coalition opposed to both the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, which joined the demonstration at the press syndicate after being driven out of a previous protest at Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque in Mohandiseen by police firing birdshot and teargas.
Another small protest was also dispersed at Egypt's High Court, only a few blocks away from Talaat Harb Square, reported Al-Ahram's Arabic news website. It is unclear who was protesting. The chants were against the military and police.
Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi paid a visit to Tahrir Square on Saturday to assess the security situation.
Cairo was hit by three separate bomb attacks on Friday, leaving a total of six people dead and 78 injured. Clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and police on the same day left another nine people dead.
"The state, with all its institutions, is strong and capable of protecting the country and fending off all terrorist plans that aim to destroy it," El-Beblawi said, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.
Tahrir Square is not the only site of pro-government rallies. A crowd also gathered in front of Ain Shams police station, the site of a minor explosion earlier in the day, chanting praises for the army and El-Sisi. Workers from the state-run Egyptian Trade Federation Union (ETUF) gathered at the union’s headquarters to celebrate the revolution's anniversary in the presence of union head Gamal El-Maraghy.
More to follow