Egyptian activists have used social networking sites to call for a fresh wave of demonstrations, a day after they staged the biggest protests in years to demand the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule.
However, the Interior Ministry warned police would not tolerate any gatherings, marches or protests, suggesting that security forces would immediately crack down at the first sign of protesters gathering.
Thousands of riot police have been deployed across the capital, Cairo, in anticipation of fresh anti-government protests.
On Tuesday, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Cairo and several other Egyptian cities to call for Mubarak’s ousting and a solution to rampant poverty, rising prices and high unemployment.
Two protesters and a policeman were killed and some 250 people wounded, including 85 police officers, when riot police used tear gas and batons to disperse protesters shortly after midnight. Medical officials said a third protester had died from injuries sustained on Tuesday.
Activists organised the protests, dubbed “day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment”, on the social networking site Facebook, and demonstrators spread word of where to gather on Twitter.
“All of Egypt must move, at one time,” the Facebook group organising the demonstrations said in a new posting in which it listed a number of spots in Cairo and around the country where demonstrators should gather.
Thousands of police in riot gear and backed by armoured vehicles took up posts on bridges across the Nile, at major junctions and squares as well as outside key installations such as the state TV building and the headquarters of Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party in central Cairo.
Security officials said up to 200 protesters have already been detained during clashes between police and protesters in Cairo and elsewhere in the Arab nation of about 80 million people.
The protests were Egypt’s biggest in years and are likely to fuel dissent in a presidential election year. Mubarak, 82, has yet to say whether he plans to run for another six-year term in office. He is thought to be preparing his son Gamal to succeed him, a prospect that is opposed by many Egyptians.