Tens of thousands converged on Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Tens of thousands converged on Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square on Saturday, marking three years since the 2011 revolution that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Footage aired on state TV showed families and young people in the central square, many waving Egyptian flags, while nationalist songs were played from a temporary stage.
Many of those in the square held banners and posters urging army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to run for the presidency, or were chanting pro-military slogans.
A number of popular campaigns, including one called "By the Command of the People," have been set up to lobby El-Sisi to run for the presidency in the upcoming elections, expected by mid-2014.
Streets leading into and out of the square were closed off and there was a heavy police presence in the area. Metal detectors were placed at some entrances to the square to assist with the searches of those entering.
Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi paid a visit to the square, saying he is “proud of Egyptians and their victory in both the 25 January revolution and 30 June revolution.”
Several hundred metres away from Tahrir Square, police dispersed protesters who were chanting against both military rule and against the Muslim Brotherhood.
Police used birdshot and teargas to disperse protesters, many members of the Way of the Revolution Front, barring them from marching to Tahrir Square.
At least nine people were killed on Saturday in a number of different governorates as security forces and local residents clashed with supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Security sources told Ahram Online that at least 300 people were arrested on Saturday across Egypt.