Egyptian authorities have intensified security crackdown as the 5th anniversary of the Arab spring uprising approaches.
The popular uprising centred in downtown Tahrir square ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule in the country.
In the past weeks, authorities in Egypt have rounded up activists while conducting searches in as much as 5000 homes in Cairo near Tahrir Square.
Many of those arrested in recent weeks are not prominent activists but run Facebook pages calling for demonstrations.
According to analysts, the crackdown is a sign of growing insecurity since former general turned president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came into power 2 years ago.
“There’s no question that there’s a high likelihood the police will overuse force against whatever group of protesters do go onto the street and that will provoke a reaction which will increase the numbers, as we’ve seen in the past. That’s how the escalation of Mohamed Mahmoud took place. That’s how escalations following the ‘Battle of the Camel’ took place in February of 2011. It’s a pretty consistent pattern that we’ve seen over the years,” said Timothy Kaldas, a non resident fellow with the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.
While al-Sisi is viewed as the man who saved the country from religious fascism, he no longer enjoys the reverence he once had.
Most Egyptians do not actively oppose al-Sisi’s rule but many activists say they are tired of confronting what human rights groups say is an increasingly ruthless state.
However, with thousands of government opponents behind bars, the likelihood of major protests to mark the anniversary is slim.