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Africa

Police on alert for nationwide protest

Latest update : 2009-04-06

Egyptian police prepared Monday to deal with a protest called by pro-democracy groups, with dozens of people arrested in the run-up to the planned "day of anger." Police are under orders to arrest any demonstrator, according to officials.

AFP - Egyptian police were out in force on Monday to deal with a nationwide protest called by pro-democracy groups, with dozens of people arrested in the run-up to the planned "day of anger."
  
"Police have been given the order to arrest anyone taking part in demonstrations. Extra security forces are deployed around sensitive sites in Cairo and around the country," a security official told AFP.
  
Uniformed and plainclothes police were visible around Cairo and in Mahalla, a Nile Delta city where deadly riots erupted exactly a year ago during a similar protest against price hikes and low salaries.
  
Monday's protest, dubbed "The Day of Anger in Egypt," was called by the April 6 Movement, a group of young activists formed last year after a similar call for action on the same date.
  
The group is urging people to wear black and calling for protests including sit-ins at people's places of work or study.
  
The activists have two main demands: setting the national minimum monthly wage at 1,200 Egyptian pounds (213 dollars) and electing a body to draft a new constitution, the organisers said.
  
The current minimum wage in Egypt is 167 Egyptian pounds (29 dollars).
  
This year's April 6 protest, as was the case last year, gained support mainly through the online social networking site Facebook and SMS text messages.
  
Three people died and hundreds were detained during the 2008 strike.
  
Police arrested more than 30 people ahead of the latest protest, including three students on Sunday in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria for distributing posters calling for a day of action.

Date created : 2009-04-06

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