The German, British and Canadian embassies followed the US Embassy in Egypt by issuing a warning of security threats in Cairo on Friday until October 9, urging their citizens to avoid large gatherings and public spaces.
The embassies didn’t clarify the reasons for the alert, and a media official at the US Embassy told Mada Masr it is routine practice in times where large crowds of people are expected to gather.
“If you visit our embassy’s website, you’ll see similar messages throughout this year and last, urging Americans to practice appropriate security awareness at various times,” the official said.
Several other embassies issued similar warnings. The Canadian Embassy in Cairo issued an alert on Friday informing its citizens of the US’ security alert, specifying that citizens should be particularly cautious of government and security buildings, places of worship and all crowds.
The Canadian Embassy issued an ongoing alert, warning citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Egypt “due to the unpredictable security situation,” with the exception of the Red Sea coastal cities of Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh and the tourist cities of Luxor and Aswan in Upper Egypt.
The German Embassy echoed the message, clarifying that the warning is based on information from the American and European embassies in Egypt. The UK Embassy issued a similar warning on the Egypt travel advice section on its website.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement criticizing “unnecessary alerts,” stating that they can have a negative impact on Egypt’s economic status. The Ministry urged embassies “to exercise caution when issuing unnecessary or incomprehensible statements.”
October 9 coincides with the fifth anniversary of Maspero, when 27 Coptic protesters were killed by military forces during a protest in 2011. The Ministry of Interior denied the request of Coptic activists to commemorate Maspero this year with a stand in front of the Maspero television building.
Embassies have issued security warnings over the last five years around times of anticipated protests.