“Whoever is awaiting the 25 January celebrations as a pretext to cause harm to the nation, awaits a mirage,” said Justice Minister Ahmed Al-Zind during the Heliopolis Rotary Club meeting on Monday.
Al-Zind alluded to the “danger posited by social media”, which is being abused by “criminal elements that aim to cause further polarisation in society and incite the youth.” He also called on the Egyptian people to follow the president’s vision and consider the progress of the economy to be their top priority.
Ahead of the 25 January Revolution’s fifth anniversary, the state has been taking various measures to quell calls for dissent and protest by different groups.
Five Muslim Brotherhood leaders were detained on charges of planning acts of violence on the revolution’s anniversary, the Ministry of Interior announced in a statement on 26 November.
According to the ministry, the alleged leaders were holding an organisational meeting at one of their “dens” in Nasr City to plan actions aimed at instigating chaos and instability.
Another eight were arrested almost two weeks later for inciting violence and planning hostile acts against the state via social media. The Marg Prosecution is investigating the incident.
In line with the state’s aforementioned measures, the Ministry of Religious Endowments had prescribed last Friday’s sermon to tackle “The dangers of destructive calls and the need to counter them.”
It went on to discuss nationalism and obedience to leaders and “guardians” as a part of a wider duty to “obey God and serve the nation”.
Since November, social-media activists have launched several campaigns on Facebook and Twitter to call for a new uprising on 25 January 2016.
A campaign using the hash-tag “Back to Tahrir” has called on citizens to return to the square on the anniversary of the uprising.
However, there are criticisms of such campaigns from various quarters, with some accusing the campaign creators and supporters of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. Some critics say that citizens with genuine grievances will find opportunities to protest without the need for a general mobilization via social media.
In 2011, protests erupted on National Police Day, which officially commemorates the death of 50 police officers at the hands of British soldiers in 1952. Protesters sought to use the event to highlight abuses against citizens by police and security forces during the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.