The Egyptian army deployed tanks and troops Thursday night on streets accessing Cairo's Tahrir Square in preparation for an upcoming demonstration called by armed forces commander Gen. Abdel Fatah el-Sisi.
Several tanks took up positions at the entrances to the plaza, where opponents of deposed President Mohammen Morsi have set up an encampment, while police sent trucks with reinforcements to the area, Efe was able to determine.
The armored vehicles were designated with Egyptian flags and some soldiers chatted in a relaxed manner with citizens in the area who even posed for photos next to the tanks.
On the square, where a festive atmosphere reigned, there are already a large number of people who have turned out after El-Sisi called on them to do so.
On Wednesday, the army had urged citizens to demonstrate to show their support for the armed forces and the police in a "probable fight against violence and terrorism."
The demonstration was supported on Thursday by Interim Prime Minister Hazem el Beblaui, who encouraged Egyptians to turn out on Friday "en masse" to call for a "civil state" that will not be either religious or military-run in nature.
The military on Thursday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to "join the ranks of the fatherland," an allusion to the Islamic rejection of the military coup that ousted Morsi on July 3, and said that after that period it will modify its fight against violence in the country.
The Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated groups also have asked their followers to take to the streets on Friday to demand Morsi's reinstatement.
Egypt finds itself divided into supporters and opponents of Morsi, whom the army deposed after massive street protests calling for presidential elections to replace him. EFE