Security forces blocked protests headed toward downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday.
A number of demonstrators tried to march to Tahrir in the morning to oppose last Saturday’s acquittal of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, his sons and his top security aides on charges of killing protesters during the January 25, 2011 revolution and corruption during his administration.
Police dispersed the protesters in Abdel Moneim Riad Square off of Tahrir the moment they began chanting against the government, according to the privately owned newspaper Al-Shorouk.
Security forces fired tear gas and chased demonstrators into side streets.
In anticipation of Friday’s protests, police blockaded all entrances to Tahrir and closed the Gamal Abdel Nasser metro station in the heart of downtown.
Local media said the closures were in anticipation of Muslim Brotherhood protests. However, it was unclear to which political groups the protesters attempting to reach Tahrir belonged.
Several groups had called for protests today, including the April 6 Youth Movement and the Revolutionary Socialists.
Meanwhile, the Strong Egypt Party founded by ex-Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdel Moneim Abouel Fottouh had also called for protests against the verdict.
In a statement, the party said that with the fourth anniversary of the January 25 revolution approaching, and at a time when counter-revolutionary forces are prevalent and revolutionaries are being repressed, it is important to regain the people’s trust. Accordingly, the party called on all those who took part in the January 25 revolution to return to the streets in order to save the uprising.
After the dispersal, some groups called to renew the protests in the afternoon.
Non-Muslim Brotherhood activists have debated whether to take to the streets alongside Islamist protesters to object the verdict. While some have argued it is essential to take to the streets regardless of disagreements with the Brotherhood, others were wary of being used by the ousted Islamist group as a tool in their ongoing conflict with the current administration.