World Bulletin/News Desk
A woman protester was shot dead in central Cairo on Saturday, security sources said, one day before the anniversary of the popular uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Although a security crackdown since 2013 when the army toppled president Mohamed Mursi has virtually ended street demonstrations, several took place this week in Cairo and Egypt's second city Alexandria.
The security sources said the protester was shot with birdshot near Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the 2011 revolt that ended 30 years of iron-fisted rule under Mubarak.
Photographs on Twitter showed members of Egypt's security forces with black masks standing in the area where the woman, liberal activist Shaimaa Sabbagh, was shot.
The Socialist Popular Alliance said on its Facebook page that party member Sabbagh was killed by security forces. A witness said protestors were carrying flowers to Tahrir Square when the shooting occurred.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said in a statement an impartial investigation would find whoever killed Sabbagh, the state news agency reported.
Tahrir Square closed off
Egyptian security forces late on Saturday closed off central Cairo's Tahrir Square, only hours before the fourth anniversary of the January 25 revolution.
Barbed wire and armored vehicles were used in blocking entrances to the square, the iconic center of the revolution against Mubarak, amid expectations of opposition protests, marking the revolution anniversary.
Military armored vehicles and police cars made their presence felt on the square, especially near the Egyptian Museum, which houses a large number of antiquities.
In a scheduled televised address on Saturday evening, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi praised the desire for change that had sent Egyptians into the street four years ago, but said it would take patience to achieve all of "the revolution's goals".
He did not mention the shooting.
While former army chief Sisi has taken steps to improve Egypt's economy, human rights groups accuse him of restoring authoritarian rule to the most populous Arab state.
Opponents say new laws, including one restricting protests, have rolled back freedoms won in the uprising. Activists, including many who supported Mursi's removal, have been jailed.
An Egyptian court ordered the release of Mubarak's sons Alaa and Gamal on Thursday pending a retrial in a corruption case.
In November, a court dropped charges against Mubarak of conspiring to kill protesters in the uprising, raising fears among activists that the old guard was making a comeback.
Tahrir Square has turned into a no-go zone for demonstrators since the ouster by the army of elected President Mohamed Morsi in July of 2013.
On January 25 four years ago, Egyptians descended on Tahrir Square at the center of Egyptian capital Cairo to protest against police brutality.
The protests turned into a fully-fledged popular uprising later when hundreds of protesters were killed and thousands of others wounded.
Mubarak had to step down on February 11 of 2011 under public pressure, mandating the army council to rule the country.Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2015, 23:49